Full community celebration as the world's first high-tech SPAR opens  

Irene Haugen Gaustad, Ole Christian Fjeldheim, Kathrine Haatvedt at the opening of  the world's first, partially self-serviced and 24-hour SPAR store. 

Friday, March 15th 2024, at 11:00 is a historic day. As the world's first, partially self-serviced and 24-hour SPAR store opened in a new guise, it was set for a community celebration. –Exclusively positive, says the engaged managing director and merchant, Irene Haugen Gaustad. 

SPAR Atrå, located midway between Rjukan and Geilo, arranged a series of good deals, VIP visits, competitions, giveaways, and a red carpet for the grand opening. 

First in the World 

The store in the village of Atrå in Tinn is the first high-tech SPAR store in the entire world. 

–This is significant. We have stores in 48 countries, and now is the time to take the first step towards implementing this technology for SPAR, says Ole Christian Fjeldheim, CEO SPAR Norway. 

Ole Christian Fjeldheim, CEO SPAR Norway. 

He explains that they have gained valuable experiences from partially self-serviced stores for Joker and Nærbutikken, and now look forward to SPAR Atrå's customers being able to shop whenever it suits them. 

Store manager Irene spent a lot of time mapping and exploring the possibilities of the technology before making the decision to switch to a partially self-serviced store. 

– I am extremely grateful that I have received such support from the people around me. This wouldn't be possible without them. 

She is elated to use RMA-technology (Retail Multi Automation) and to be better equipped to face the future. 

–This is about securing jobs. We are not reducing staff, but now we have more time for other tasks in the store. The staff here are very positive about the transition, and that has been of utmost importance to me, she says. 

Appears entirely positive 

Irene is ahead of the curve by being the manager of the first SPAR store to use RMA-technology from Liberty Now. 

She explains that even after her 24 years in the store, she has never experienced so much positive feedback. 

–This technology provides great opportunities and more efficiency, she explains.

The store manager says customers have been excited and greatly looked forward to using the new technology. 

The self-service checkout counters have already been in the store for a while, and Irene reports she has received exclusively positive feedback.

A whole 80 percent of customers used the self-service checkout during the first week. 

–Customers find it fun, and everyone believes this is the way to go. 

From left: Øystein Eriksen, Project Manager in Kjøpmannshuset, Stein Gunleiksrud, chairman of the board for Atrå Handelslag, Irene Haugen Gaustad, Managing director and merchant at Spar Atrå, Ole Christian Fjeldheim, CEO SPAR Norway, Hans Olav Bakås, CEO in Liberty Now, Christen Odden, operations manager in SPAR, Christian Lindal, COO in Liberty Now, John Larsen, fresh produce manager in SPAR. Foto: Camilla Moen.

A Successful Opening 

The opening party exuded a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere among the participants. 

Representatives from Liberty Now were also present to take part in the special opening. 

–We wish to extend a thank for the trust, both from the chain and from Irene. It has been a great celebration of a major milestone, and we look forward to the continuation, says CEO of Liberty Now, Hans Olav Bakås. 

They agree that it is an important event and that they are grateful to be part of the journey. 

–Congratulations to the world's first high-tech SPAR store. They think about the future, both when considering their customers and employees, says Liberty Now's communications leader, Camilla Moen. 

–This is a step in the right direction to give both customers and store owners more freedom. We support those who dare to take risks, and we will be here along the way to assist where we can, adds COO, Christian Lindal. 

Irene looks to the future with the new technology with great optimism. 

–Now the store is even better, and even more progressive. We look forward to being noticed for the steps we take. This is nothing but positive, she concludes.


Communication Liberty Now AS,

Ida Amalea Furseth