WOOLDALE Co-op, based in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, has launched its revamped website and will soon be launching an innovative service for co-operators worldwide.
The society has three small convenience stores in the Holme Valley and after 20 years of poor investment and sales the society has been rejuvenated over the past five years under the leadership of Chief Executive Fergie Cowan.
The new website, which is at: www.wooldale.coop, provides information about the society including board members, stores, application forms for membership, copies of the rules and the annual reports.
But to back the site up will be a new venture that will see the availability of Co-op brand goods worldwide. Former residents of the UK who miss their Co-op goods can buy them online at www.expatshopping.coop when the service is launched early next year.
Mr Cowan said: "I was amazed at the number of times I was asked to send goods to them that they missed from the UK and found difficult to get. So, I ran an experiment on an eBay web store for about six months to test the water and was surprised at the interest it created."
Once launched, the site will include a recipe section linked to the products on sale, news from home, a message board to search out contacts and will promote strong links with the many expat groups and associations there are around the world.
The society will also launch www.wooldalewines.coop, which will further promote the existing range of Co-op wines available to buy online.
Meanwhile the society has recently received planning permission to refurbish its head office in Holmfirth, famed for its association with the BBC TV series Last of the Summer Wine. In conjunction with Sheffield Co-op it will convert the stone building into three large, luxury apartments, new office suite and refurbish the store. An extensive cellar area will provide space to operate the two web shops from as well as storage.
Mr Cowan has welcomed these challenges, he added: "We are determined to see the society survive for another 116 years as a profitable, independent co-operative business."