Central England Co-operative has revealed it has invested over £10 million and created hundreds of jobs as part of major expansion plans during 2020 – despite the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout the year the Society has opened eight new food stores, a new coffee shop and two new funeral booking offices as well as relaunching more than 25 food stores following a major refit programme.
The major development programme has seen investment in the following areas: Birmingham, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
The food stores now offer shoppers an expansive range of products and are fitted out with pioneering new energy efficient refrigeration technologies and LED lighting to minimise environmental impact, while all stores are powered by 100% renewable energy.
Many of the stores also include free water refill stations, self-scan tills, phone charging areas, indoor and outdoor seating, bike repair stations and customer toilets.
2020 also saw Central England Co-op open its brand new £3 million flagship food store in Boley Park, Lichfield, including a brand-new petrol station, redesigned car park, extensive landscaping and a range of ‘first’ features for the Society such as a special zero waste refill station that allows shoppers to only buy what they need and cut down on food packaging and waste.
A new coffee shop was opened at the Society’s Littleover Food Store, working with the Insomnia Coffee Company as their franchise partner on a £620,000 investment, which created a modern and stylish coffee shop with community space.
Links also continued to be forged with the local community via inviting local schools to design special pieces of artwork that have now been placed on the inside or outside of the stores.
Store Manager Jamie Joyce said: “All of us here at Central England Co-operative food stores across our trading area are proud to be part of such great communities and are looking forward to welcoming all customers, old and new, to come and enjoy our new and revamped food stores.”
Despite a challenging 12 months as the Society’s funeral colleagues supported families in these uncertain times, Central England Co-op did invest in two new funeral booking offices in Castle Donington and Atherstone.
Funeral Director Kate Spencer said: “Our first priority is to enhance memories and love for all of our families, and we are very pleased to offer that at our new funeral booking offices.
“We feel they reflect our commitment to providing excellent standards of care for our families during their time of bereavement.”
The Central England Co-op funeral booking offices and homes offer a 24-hour service, seven days a week.
The work throughout 2020 has been part of an ambitious development programme across the Society’s food and funeral businesses, with further investment planned during 2021.