Offering speciality foods since 1968
- Our History -
Fontana was founded by visionary Taki Xenopoulos in 1967, with the first Fontana Bakery in trendy Hillbrow, Johannesburg. In 1968 South Africa’s first 24-hour store officially opened its doors with Fontana Highpoint, being situated in the centre of South Africa’s principal night life - late night revels would leave clubs in the early morning and buy our soon to become famous roast chickens and rolls. Fontana Highpoint remains the crown jewel of the Fontana Group.
Taki’s secret to success lay in the Fontana motto “We offer clean, fresh food with a smile and quick service 24 hours a day”. His philosophy placed the renowned bakeries and Roast Chicken firmly in the heritage of Johannesburg city life.
In 1968, the exclusive independent food store held a successful deli with a selection of mainly imported grocery lines making up 45% of the range.
The mid 1980's saw the lifting of the Group Areas Act and the demographic market in Hilbrow began to shift. Fontana Highpoint was now competing against the rise of multiple local grocery chain-stores. Taki Xenopoulos decided to cut back on imported lines and deli space and moved towards a 'conventional' product offering. This was unknown territory to Taki and he was not familiar or comfortable with anything 'conventional'.
The country was in political turmoil in the 1990’s - The winds of change were blowing and Fontana was unsure which direction they were headed in. Other national chain stores were vacating the Hillbrow area - offloading their buildings for next to nothing, leaving a void of tenancy and a crime element.
Fontana was going through an identity crisis, the customer profile had changed. Money was getting tight and Fontana was not communicating effectively to the new market. Fontana had truly fallen from rock star to rock bottom. The conclusion was that trading as an independent store was not the best option. Fontana Holdings who owned Blackheath SPAR at one stage, decided that the power of the brand would save the Fontana stores.
Dario Afeltra joined Fontana in 1991 as part of operations, soon thereafter taking full control and ownership and in 1991 Fontana became a member of the SPAR SA GROUP (PTY) LTD by converting their three 24 Hour CBD stores to KWIKSPAR's.
2010 saw the beginning of the reformed Fontana Group by converting, upgrading and relaunching the new Highpoint KWIKSPAR as a world class SUPERSPAR winning "MOST IMPROVED STORE OF THE YEAR". This was the beginning of a new Era.
During the next seven years Fontana acquired, opened new sites and revamped older stores to what it is today. - 7 World Class SUPERSPAR's, 4 SPAR's, 2 KWIKSPAR's and 9 TOPS @ SPAR Liquor Stores.
The most challenging and rewarding store was Berea SUPERSPAR. A 33 story buildings two level basement parking slab was removed to create the first of its kind in the world, a 1800m2, 24Hour a day, SUPERSPAR.
Today the company boasts an annual turnover in excess of R1 Billion, the largest retailer in the SPAR SOUTH RAND and the third largest in SPAR SOUTH AFRICA and employs over 1400 staff members.
During this explosive period, Dario Achieved:
LADDER OF SUCCESS AWARDS
MOST IMPROVED STORE OF THE YEAR 2010
MR SPAR REGIONAL RETAIL 2014
MR SPAR NATIONAL RETAIL 2015
The Fontana story is one of perseverance and faith, founded on a dream. Our philosophy has extended to the Fontana SUPERSPAR's, Fontana KWIKSPAR's, Fontana TOPS AT SPAR liquor stores and is still proudly run by the same family with the same principals, 24 hours a day.