KQF, the Lancashire based halal food manufacturer and retailer, has announced a new partnership with SPAR. On 1st October, the company held the formal reopening of its 5,000sq.ft. superstore on Whalley Range in Blackburn, which now incorporates both a Post Office and an extensive range of SPAR products.
KQF purchased the superstore in 2013 and has been serving the needs of the local community ever since. The area is home to a large Muslim population and, soon after the original acquisition, the company set up an on-site butcher’s section, which is certified by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC.)
Through continuing investment, the superstore has grown in terms of footfall and physical size but early in 2015, managing director Faruk Vali decided to pursue new strategic partnerships that would enable the store to offer more. Speaking at the opening ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the Post Office, SPAR and local dignitaries, Mr Vali said:
“All the changes that have taken place here – structural improvements, the new layout, longer opening hours and all our new products and facilities – have been introduced to provide our customers with a better, more relevant and more convenient service. The work has demanded great efforts from our staff and all our partners, but it has been absolutely worthwhile.
“Footfall is the lifeblood of every retail operation and we’ve always recognised that we must do everything we can to improve the customer experience. Improving the store’s layout has been part of this but, about 12 months ago, we decided to do more. We realised that by building new partnerships, we could offer our customers a wider range of services and therefore give people even more reason to come into the store. Today’s reopening is the result of that strategy. I’m sure that the Post Office and SPAR will both make a tremendous contribution to the customer experience.”
As a result of this strategy, the store now offers a full-service Post Office, a range of new snacks and halal meal deals, an ATM cash machine and a self-serve coffee bar. These all come in addition to the company’s existing range of groceries, household goods and HMC-certified meats. The store is open 100 hours a week and will serve as a model for KQF’s plans for expansion.
At the opening ceremony, SPAR was represented by Andrew Hall, managing director of the Lancashire based SPAR distributor, James Hall & Co Ltd. He said: “This is a wonderful example of different cultures working together to provide food and services to the whole community.”
Speaking on behalf of the Post Office, Public Affairs Manager Richard Hall said: “We understand how important having a Post Office is to local residents and I am confident that this new modern Post Office will meet the needs of the local community and secure services for the future. We wish Faruk and the team at KQF every success with the new venture. This modernisation is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office, and marks a commitment to no more branch closure programmes.”
Customers who gathered to witness the opening then took the opportunity to try some of KQF’s new halal convenience foods as well as samples of new products introduced by SPAR.