SWEEPING changes have been made to an iconic department store as bosses demonstrate their faith in the Tamworth town centre and their historic HQ.
A raft of stores have closed in the town in recent years as a result of the economic climate and changing shopping trends – with Argos recently announcing it is to close its Ankerside store.However, bucking the trend, the Co-op have announced a brand-new clothing section as part of a major overhaul of their ground floor.
Julian Coles, chief executive of Tamworth Co-op, was delighted to cut the ribbon to formally open the new M&Co clothing section.
He said: “Despite what has happened elsewhere, we have remained determined to improve our department store and our staff have worked extremely hard to make it more attractive to shoppers.”This exciting development represents one of the biggest changes we have seen for years at the store.””Like every other high-street business we have to ensure we operate in the most efficient way, but I think it is clear that we are doing everything we can to ensure Tamworth remains a town with a department store at its heart. That is increasingly rare these days and visitors from further afield often comment on the value of that.”Tamworth Co-operative Society signed the agreement to stock M&Co clothing for men, women and children.
An area of around 6,000 sq ft has been refitted to make way for a selection of exclusively designed clothes catering for all ages.
The longstanding, Store Twenty One concession which provides high value ladies, kids and menswear, along with houseware and toys, also has a new home on the upper ground floor taking up more than 4,000 sq ft of space.
They are joined by Brantano Footwear, another newcomer, which has moved from Ventura Park to take advantage of the convenient town centre location.All three complement the extensive choice of men’s and women’s clothes and more footwear available at outlet prices on the first floor.Ron Constable, general manager non-food, said: “We are one of the few independent societies still operating a department store.
“We’re delighted to be able to announce these new arrivals in time for Christmas. M&Co and Brantano both shared our vision and this is a massive endorsement for us.”Partnerships and quality brands have been the foundation of our success to date.”I firmly believe people shop with us for our excellent value coupled with first class customer service, something we are very proud of. We’ve also completely revamped our furniture ranges on the top floor, bringing in a fantastic selection of upholstery, dining and bedroom furniture.
“So these are exciting times for us, especially as we’re celebrating our 130th anniversary this year.”
The store no longer offers electrical goods but still sells bedding, home furnishings and gifts, and has an on-site travel centre, opticians, mobility aids section and bereavement advice centre.
Droitwich Arts Network members take to the catwalk with M&Co
MEMBERS of Droitwich Arts Network (DAN) turned models when they took to the catwalk for a fashion show held by M&Co.The event last month, to raise funds for DAN, was attended by more than 100 guests and there was also a raffle to boost the coffers further.
Event organiser Helen Karakashian said: “We all had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and the staff at M&Co were very supportive and helpful”. Artist and model Rosie said: “It was nerve-racking at first but we soon entered into the spirit of the evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it.“I don’t think I will give up my day job just yet though.” The organisers said they had some very good feedback from those watching,“As people left they said their cheeks were aching from all the laughter – they didn’t realise that fundraising could be so much fun.”
Chair of DAN Malcolm Wakeman added there were some ‘slightly eccentric’ models on show.“What they lacked in expertise they made up for in enthusiasm and entertainment value.“A fun time was had by all but we don’t expect to make the front cover of Vogue magazine.”He thanked everyone who made the event – and future DAN activities – possible.
M&Co in Deal celebrates ten years in Deal High Street thanks to loyalty of staff and customers
Popular clothing and homeware shop M&Co is celebrating 10 years in Deal this month, with more than half of its original staff still working there.The shop, next to Marks & Spencer and Starbucks, has been an active High Street business, holding regular charity fashion shows and offering ‘girls’ nights in”. To celebrate, customers are invited to enjoy in-store nibbles and pick up balloons for children on Saturday, November 19.
Manager Sue Hewins, an employee of 20 years, moved from the Whitstable shop to Deal when it opened. She said: “It’s been a fantastic 10 years.“I still live for this shop and have a great passion for it. We have three trading floors, offering men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, as well as homeware, and it was a big promotion for me when I came here.“But we’ve managed to keep it thriving thanks to our many loyal customers.”Mrs Hewins looks after a team of 14, of which eight have been with her since November 2006.Jade Nash started out as a Saturday girl when it opened and is now the assistant manager.
She said: “We’re a family here. We have lots of regular customers who we are on first-name terms with.” One of their most loyal shoppers is Catherine Birt, who says she returns week after week because of their friendly and helpful customer service.
Manager Sue Hewins with loyal customer Catherine BirtMiss Nash added: “I’ve had three promotions since I’ve been here. It’Miss Nash added: “I’ve had three promotions since I’ve been here. It’s down to the excellent training, where I’ve been sent away on courses, and the support of my manager.”Other original staff members include Heather Dale, Dawn Ambrose, Kath Ellis, Michelle Cudworth, Jade Everett and Lori Tawiah.The store also offers a pop-up shop, visiting residential homes such as Westbury House, in Blenheim Road, allowing those who can not make it to the town to try on items and buy them.