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Long service celebration for Susan Harrison at Derby Road

One of our Derbyshire supermarkets has celebrated another colleague reaching a long service milestone – the ninth in the past 12 months totalling 230 years of providing food and essentials to the local community.

Our store in Derby Road, Ripley has a long history in the town, with the co-operative movement tracing its origins back to 1860 and the present store serving the community since 1981.

Therefore, the town has an affinity with its local Co-op and that loyalty is shared by the Derby Road supermarket’s colleagues with so many having dedicated their working lives to the Society, creating a true ‘family feel’ among the store team.

The latest team member to be recognised for her contribution is Customer Service Assistant Susan Harrison who was rewarded for her 20 years of continuous service with the retailer, 27 years in total.

Store Manager Nathan Burrows said it was clear that there is a real sense of loyalty to the store and the Co-operative among his team, as well as a great camaraderie borne out during the recent challenges caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

He said: “A lot of the team have worked with the same people for many years and it has become like a family for them at Ripley. They are very committed and loyal to each other and the store and I think that is what has kept them here for so many years.

“It is a really close-knit team and during these uncertain and challenging times we have experienced recently, that teamwork has really been highlighted with colleagues supporting each other.

“Over the last year we have recognised five colleagues who have done 30 years of service and four who have done 20 years, including Pam Eley who celebrated 20 years in April and postponed her retirement to support the team during this tough period.

“That loyalty is shared by our customers as well. We are a long-established store and the Co-operative has had a presence in the town for so many decades, so a lot of customers have been shopping with us for many years and have seen the same faces when they come in and they know each other by name.”

Nathan presented Susan with a bunch of flowers to thank her for her contribution over the last 20 years and said the 64-year-old was a “hard-working and conscientious colleague well-liked by everyone”.

Susan, who previously worked as a Team Leader at the store, explained what has kept her loyal to Central England Co-op for so many years.

She said: “We have a great team here and have had some nice times over the years and we have a good laugh. Even over the last couple of months, although it’s been hard, we have kept smiling through it and the team have supported each other.

“I am from Ripley and live five minutes from the store so I’ve no excuse when it snows! I have worked and lived in the town for many years, so I know a lot of the customers and it nice seeing familiar faces and sharing stories.”

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