Our newest Food store

We opened our newest Food store in September 2022 in Needham Market. At just under 4,000 square feet, the Hurstlea Road store replaced the former King William Street store in the town and is well situated to serve the Chamber’s Green housing development.

The store offers residents a plethora of new and improved services, including a Barista Bar coffee machine, Robinsons squash slush and a freshly squeezed orange juice machine – the first within our co-op.

Maximising our assets

In December, work began at our Station Road, Brightlingsea Food store to convert the first floor into five, two-bedroom flats, creating new homes for the local community. The flats are due to be completed and available for rent in summer 2023. 

Over the year we refitted five of our Food stores: West Bergholt near Colchester, Haughley near Stowmarket, Lovelace Road in Norwich, Connaught Avenue in Frinton on Sea and Wood Road in Heybridge. We modernised all five stores for colleagues and customers with alterations such as installing new energy-efficient fridges and LED lights and updating the branding to create a sleek, modern appearance. 

In addition to five full store refits, we also completed a significant project to ensure our Food stores complied with the new high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) regulations that came into effect on 1 October 2022. This involved a mixture of minor moves and full store re-lays.

Our ‘Perfect Days’ 

Our Food stores are an integral part of our family of businesses and we’re proud to have seen our convenience stores and supermarkets trading to their full potential, despite a turbulent trading environment.  

‘Perfect Days’ is a new initiative for our co-op, which encourages members of our support teams to visit stores at key points in the retail calendar, including Bank Holidays, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. This helps build an understanding of how our Food stores function in practice, at the most critical times of the year.

The ability of our colleagues to have this two-way communication is crucial; they can share experiences, knowledge, and expertise, and this makes for a more joined-up way of doing business, allowing them to make more informed decisions going forward.  

Our Retail Operations team 

This year we’ve welcomed several new faces to our co-op to manage our Retail Operations teams. 

Sam Winter, Head of Food Stores

Sam Winter, Head of Food Stores

Our new Head of Food Stores, Sam joins us from Co-op Group having previously worked in a number of roles in the field and within change management. Living in Norfolk, Sam is well placed to lead our team of Retail Regional Leaders in supporting the development and execution of our strategy, enabling the growth of our business by engaging colleagues and delighting customers and members in our Food stores.

Colin Dixon, Head of Funeral Services

Colin Dixon, Head of Funeral Services

Having previously worked in many central operations roles for George and Walmart, both in the UK and Ireland, Colin joins us to oversee our Funeral Services. Colin, along with the Funeral Services team, is responsible for ensuring our clients receive an excellent standard of care at all our branches. 

Simon Dryell, Head of Central Operations

Simon Dryell, Head of Central Operations

Following a successful career in senior commercial and field-based roles for PepsiCo, Tesco and Co-op Group, Simon now heads up our Central Operations team. Simon’s team is responsible for a number of important aspects of our Food business including stock ordering, store layouts, planning product ranges and managing our contact centre.

It Means Everything

We all have something personal that reminds us of a loved one who's no longer with us. And it's these unexpected reminders that keep their memory with us. Our ‘It Means Everything’ campaign focuses on the theme of memories, featuring a cuddly toy which holds significant memories of a loved one for the female protagonist. The campaign emphasises the idea that providing a great, personal service to our clients means everything to us, because we know how much their loved one means to them.  

The campaign took the form of a TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising campaign which helped us reach people across our region with this important message.  

The campaign also featured print advertisements in a range of local magazines, as well as posters on buses across our trading area.

H.L. Perfitt launches virtual memorial showroom  

In early November our specialist stonemasons at H.L. Perfitt launched a virtual showroom, allowing our funeral clients to choose unique memorials for loved ones, from their own homes. 

The virtual showroom is the first of its kind for memorials in the UK. The immersive, 3D experience, produced by Matterport, allows you to ‘walk’ around three separate rooms and view memorial options up close.  

Take a look around our virtual showroom 

This report reflects our five 'Our Co-op' strategies.
Click on a strategy to learn more:

Building our fanbase

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Improving the daily lives of our colleagues

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Taking action to help save our planet

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Championing local

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Growing and evolving our business

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