For sixty-five years Susan Hutchison’s family have catered for the needs of their local community in the picturesque village of Scone, in Perthshire, Scotland. Scone lies near to the river Tay just north of the city of Perth and is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.
Within the village is SPAR Abbey Road, which was established in 1958. Today owned and operated by second generation SPAR retailer Susan Hutchison, this store is celebrating 65 years in business this year and is one of the longest running SPAR stores in Scotland.
Susan Hutchison’s father Ernie first started the business in 1958 at the site where the store still stands today. Originally on the site of a changing room for a local football club, centred in the heart of the village and beside a primary school, Ernie knew the location would be perfect for a convenience store business.
Ernie spent the first couple of years delivering essential items to local customers in his van before expanding the business when opportunities came his way. Over the years he extended the shop by purchasing neighbouring buildings, turning it into a thriving convenience store.
“My Dad always did things for people and always loved to chat. He worked in the shop all his days,” said his daughter Susan Hutchison. Susan, one of four children, used to work in the store when she could. When one year, she met her husband, and the rest is history!
Susan worked in the store with her father until he retired in 2005 at the age of 77. It was at this point that Susan bought the business from him and has been running it since.
“The store really is a part of the community. Dad was brought up in Scone as was I and our son Ryan, who has been working in the store for the last ten years. We’ve all gone to the local schools and played an active role in village life,” says Susan.
“I’m delighted that Ryan is working in the store now. It’s great to have family in the business. Ryan is the third generation and he’s bringing a whole new perspective to convenience retailing. Having him in the shop is giving me a chance to consider taking a step back or do less hours at least!”
“We’re delighted with what we’ve achieved this year. It was a huge investment to refit the store along with all the other changes we made. We also wanted to add something special to mark our 65th anniversary and we are particularly happy with our little nod to the past by adding ‘Ernie’s’ to the outside, which is what the locals used to call the store.”
SPAR Abbey Road is 1,800sqft and enjoyed a wonder celebration day on Saturday 28th October to mark the 65th anniversary at the store.
“It was a lovely day; so many people turned up. We hung some old photos up in store alongside newer ones of my dad and family and the reaction was phenomenal,” she added.
As a pillar of the community, Susan has always supported the village by donating prizes and fundraising for many different things like new kit for the local girls and boys football teams or charity bingo nights.
“During the pandemic we started to make home deliveries free of charge to any of our customers who needed it. And today we are stilling doing it on Friday’s for free for anyone who’s vulnerable. Just like my dad did years ago, we see how important it is to help those who can’t visit the store. The interaction for some customers who phone up and get the delivery is vital.
“I love what I do, and I have a real responsibility in the community. I’m here for our customers and my staff – they are everything to the shop,” concluded Susan.
Local customers to SPAR Scone enjoyed a wonderful celebration day with balloons, photography, 100 SPAR branded goody bags, the SPAR spinning wheel with lots of fantastic prizes, supplier sampling, Healthy Living stand filled with free fruit and bottled water for customers and a prize draw for local shoppers to win a TV and SPAR shopping vouchers.
Colin McLean, CEO of SPAR Scotland, said: “We wish Susan and everyone at SPAR Abbey Road in Scone every success for the future. Sixty-five years trading is an impressive achievement especially with what retail businesses have had to contend with in recent years. We look forward to working with Susan and Ryan well into the future as they continue to offer a wonderful convenience service to the local community of Scone.”
SPAR Scone is located at 104 Abbey Road, Scone PH2 6RU and is open Monday to Saturday 7am-10pm and Sunday 7.30am – 9pm.