THE headquarters and main store of the tiny three-store Wooldale Co-op in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, is being redeveloped thanks to a link-up with Sheffield Society.
A bright, newly refurbished store and head office suite was opened recently ? 100 years after the building was almost totally destroyed by fire.
The entire £ 400,000 project, which is due to be completed in October, will also incorporate three luxury first floor apartments; car parking and landscaping to the site.
Work on the apartments has already started and a number of inquires have already been received for the £ 180,000-plus homes right in the heart of "Last of the Summer Wine" country.
The scheme has been an object lesson in co-operation between co-operatives, says Wooldale Chief Executive and Secretary Fergie Cowan.
He told the News: "Sheffield Co-op has undertaken all the work through its building maintenance division, Brightside and Carbrook. The society has generously funded the project until such time as the apartments are completed and will eventually receive a small percentage share of the profits from their sale.
"This example of co-operation between co-operatives has meant that Wooldale Society has been able to bring forward its development plans without the need to sell other assets or borrow to fund the project."
The new store incorporates West Yorkshire's first Post Office "combi" counter which is a no-screen, open counter forming part of the checkout area, which allows better use of staffing resources and all services to be available while the store is open.
Added Mr Cowan: "Five years ago, Wooldale Society was struggling as a result of a lack of vision and investment. Sales were just over £ 900,000 and declining.
"Last year, sales rose to £ 2 million and are still climbing. In that time a massive effort and investment for such a small society has seen EPOS systems installed; the computerisation of all society accounts and share ledgers and the launch of a members Dividend Card."
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