GOKWE: Spar Magic Moments, a customer-centric retail organization established in 1997, has unfortunately closed its doors, leaving several workers without employment. The company, registered in accordance with Zimbabwe Companies Act, was known for its agility in responding to customer needs and ensuring satisfaction.
The journey began in 1997 when the first Spar shop opened in Gokwe, followed by the successful launch of Savemore Gokwe in 2000. As a part of its expansionary drive, the company extended its presence to Harare by introducing Spar Mufakose in 2003.
Spar Magic Moments offered a wide range of retail operations, including Grocery, Bakery, Butchery, Deli, and Fruit and Vegetables. Their trading brands, Spar and Savemore, catered to customers from all segments of the market, serving both low and high-income earners.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and technological challenges put immense pressure on the company, resulting in significant loss of sales. These challenges proved insurmountable, ultimately leading to the closure of the retail business. The closure has left Gokwe in a state of distress, as Spar Magic Moments played a vital role in supporting the local community.
In addition to its retail activities, Spar Magic Moments was an active donor to St. Agnes Children’s Home in Gokwe. This center heavily relies on donor funding and a few projects to sustain the livelihood of more than 20 vulnerable children, many of whom have been abandoned or orphaned.
The closure of Spar Magic Moments is undoubtedly a significant loss for both its employees and the community it served. The impact on job losses and community support initiatives is deeply felt, emphasizing the challenging times faced by many businesses.
Spar Magic Moments actively participated in local initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the community, working closely with NGOs and local authorities. In their own small way, they sought to create positive change for the vulnerable by regularly donating to various educational and healthcare institutions.
Additionally, Spar Magic Moments partnered with the Gokwe Vocational Training Centre to provide practical and technical hands-on experience for students studying hotel and catering, promoting lifelong education in Gokwe communities.
However, it is alleged that Spar Magic Moments has made the decision to close all its shops and shift its focus towards commercial farming and transportation using trucks.
“It’s simply a shift in our focus,” stated Sanyamandwe, the Manager of Spar Magic Moments Gokwe branch.
Unfortunately, this closure has left many people who were employed by Spar Magic Moments without a job, leading to significant hardship for their families. One worker expressed their concern, saying, “Where will I find the means to feed my family and send my kids to school? In the five years I worked for Spar, I never had any financial issues. Now, in this difficult economy, where will I find another job?”
Another worker shared their perspective, “I have three children who depend on me. I was able to take good care of them, make them happy, and watch them smile. But now, with the sudden loss of income from my trusted source of employment, I find myself in a challenging position. Where can I find another job?”
One individual, Simbarashe Ncube, aged 55 from Zambezi Gokwe Nemangwe, expressed his sentiments about the impact of Spar’s closure on the community of Gokwe. He stated, “Spar has been the face of Gokwe Town since the 1990s, and its absence feels like a loss for our community. Whenever someone mentioned Gokwe, Spar was always a landmark, even in pictures. It represented the essence of our town, and now that it’s gone, we mourn its absence as it provided significant support to our community.”
Ncube further elaborated on the role Spar played in the community, saying, “During the prosperous years of the cotton industry, many of us would spend our money at Spar Magic Moments because they had everything we needed. It was a one-stop retail destination, catering to our diverse needs.”
Unfortunately, the closure of Spar has raised concerns about the potential increase in poverty for many families, ultimately leading to an escalation in crime rates not only in Gokwe but also across the nation. The loss of this trusted retail establishment leaves a void that may negatively impact the livelihoods of the community members who rely on it for their daily essentials.
The effects of Spar’s closure are far-reaching, with potential consequences that extend beyond financial hardships. As a caring community, it is crucial for us to come together to find solutions and support those affected during this challenging time.