In June this year Saleem Sadiq strode up onto a stage in Glasgow with a startled expression on his face, having just been crowned Scottish Local Retailer of the Year. Four months down the line, we caught up with him to see what the view is like from the top of the world.
Hello there, Scottish Local Retailer of the Year
Ha! I’m still on cloud nine. Cover star of the magazine too. It’s been fantastic.
Did you have a suspicion you might win the top award?
No, I was shocked. I was completely ecstatic though. Not in my wildest dreams did I think we’d win the big prize. We were shortlisted in a couple of categories and I thought we had a chance in one. In the end that was the only one we didn’t win! It was some surprise, I can tell you.
So were you nursing a sore head the following morning?
No. Coca-Cola is about as strong as it gets for me. I can’t say the same of the staff though – I think some might have needed the day off.
They must have been just as thrilled as you?
Definitely. We all work hard as a team, so it’s a great reward for their efforts. When we returned to the shop the day after the awards carrying the three trophies they couldn’t believe it.
Where are the awards now?
They’ve got pride of place in the store. We’ve got a dedicated display area for them, which we’ll hopefully need to extend. You can see it the minute you walk in the door, so customers can see what we’ve won.
Do you think it’s important to let them know?
Of course. That’s part of promoting the business. After we won, the Paisley Daily Express did a piece on us and customers were talking about it, so they knew we’d won, and that helps keep them shopping with us.
Have you had many retailers stop in for a nosy?
Funny you should say that. Last week a team of 40 turned up as part of an SGF Study tour. Okay, there were suppliers there too so it wasn’t 40 retailers, but we’ve had others give us a call or stop by to talk about what we’re doing.
You’re never one to rest on your laurels, so what’s the next plan?
We’re actually looking at new sites. My four brothers and I have five stores at the moment and we’re looking at a couple of new ones – there’s a site in the west end of Glasgow that might happen. We’ve diversified over the years too; we own a nursery in Bathgate that’s been expanded and can now take 200 kids. It’s a good operation.
On the retail front, how have sales been?
The summer has been a complete damp squib to the honest. The one week of summer that we did have, we had a big boost in sales, but the weather has hurt us, no question. We’re having to work hard just to stand still this year.
It’s never easy being a retailer, is it?
No. It never stops. And there’s no point in stopping. If you do, you’d soon be out of business.
As our Local Retailer of the Year, what advice would you have for your fellow retailers?
This isn’t an easy time to be a retailer. Conditions are difficult, but every retailer still needs to invest time and effort as well as money. We all need to constantly examine how we sell our products.
Saleem Sadiq is the owner of Spar Renfrew.
Having won several SLR Awards in the past, in June of this year he was named Scottish Local Retailer of the Year.
Saleem, along with his brothers, also has a property business and runs a nursery in Bathgate.