Tamworth Co-op has announced plans to close its historic department store and convert the site into a business centre and art college, as part of a scheme to regenerate the town centre.
The store has been trading as the co-op’s flagship and head office since 1897, undergoing significant redevelopment work in the 1960s.
The business enterprise centre will be based in the original part of the Colehill building, with the new college replacing the 1960s section of the store.
A clearance sale with discounts of up to 70% is set to start the day after shopping restrictions are eased. It will run every week from Tuesday to Saturday (10am-4pm) until the store closes for good this summer.
Chief executive Julian Coles said: “There is, of course, great sadness that this signals the end of an extraordinary era in Tamworth Co-operative Society’s history, which stretches back more than a century.
“However, we are fully supportive of the council’s plans because this imaginative regeneration scheme will breathe life back into the town centre. It is the right move for both the society and the town itself.”
He added: “Tamworth Co-op is in excellent financial shape and is ready to embark on the next exciting chapter in our history for the benefit of our valued customers and members. We’re proud to be one of the last small, fully independent and local co-operatives in the country.
“This will be one door closing, but it is also the opening of a new one. We are looking forward to serving the people of Tamworth and those in the surrounding areas for a very long time to come.”
Mr Coles said the co-op will try to redeploy colleagues from the store to other parts of the business, and is working with commercial partners at the side to find them alternative town centre premises.
The redevelopment of the site is part of a regeneration scheme which has won government £21.65m fundung from the government’s Future High Streets Fund.
It is hoped the new centre will bring 1,500 students, staff and visitors to the town.