Category D: (International), Finalist, SMA

Anton Bredenkamp

SPAR South Africa
Hoedspruit, South Africa

Sometimes, the impact of strong leaders is truly felt after they leave. That was the case when Anton Bredenkamp transferred from a SPAR South Africa store in the city of Hoedspruit in 2017 to a helm a sister store in the Western Cape region.

After sales dipped in his absence, Bredenkamp returned to the store in early 2020 and promptly turned things around again. In fact, he’s led SPAR Hoedspruit -- located in the “safari capital” of South Africa -- to steady sales growth for three years in a row, with double-digit gains in 2020 and 2022.  During that same time period, he also steered the retailer’s linked liquor store to year-over-year sales increases. 

Beyond sheer sales, he has elevated the location’s performance in other ways. For example, the Hoedspruit store has an average food safety score of 95% and an average retail operation checklist score of 85.7%, putting him in upper echelon of store leaders. His efforts went noticed at the top of his retail organization. The SPAR Hoedspruit location received the SPAR Lowveld Regional Store of the Year award in 2022.

What’s the secret? Bredenkamp’s passion for the industry and his steadiness during challenging times have defined him as a store leader, as has his penchant for leading by example. He regularly spends time on the store floor, inspiring and coaching his team and empowering them to maintain high standards.

Empowerment is important to Bredenkamp, and he shows it in different ways. For example, employees are allowed to dress up during certain promotion days as a way to proudly express their heritage and bring a positive energy to the store. Associates are also encouraged to take advantage of in-person training courses that cover many aspects of retail knowledge and service.

He extends his upbeat attitude and approach to the shoppers who ultimately make the store a success. Bredenkamp inspires his team to interact with customers to make sure their needs are met and, on another level, supports the greater community by providing funds and donations to local causes ranging from the protection of African wild dogs on a nearby nature preserve to the members of the South African Defense Force stationed nearby.

As his company award demonstrates, Bredenkamp's work with associates, customers and community members has been noted by SPAR South Africa. He was tapped by the distribution center to inspire fellow retailers to support products from a new fresh facility and works closely with SPAR's management team to set and reach target and budgets.

He isn’t one to pause and take it all in, however. Fresh off his company award and impressive sales lifts, one can find him in the aisle striving for improvement virtually every day of the week.

“Anton does not believe in ruling by authority but rather living the values that he would like to see in his team. He drives a culture that is based on the company’s values of family, entrepreneurship and passion.”