Central England Co-op (CEC) has today opened its brand new food store at the revamped Wolverhampton Railway Station creating 20 new jobs.
The new store launched coincided with the beginning of the Commonwealth Games, and colleagues were joined by young athletes from Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club to help cut the ribbon on the store and celebrate the festival of sport taking place across the West Midlands.
Shoppers and commuters were treated to entertainment by performers from Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s Memory Café.
The Café supports people living with Dementia and their family and carers, a cause close to Central England Co-op’s heart as it has raised over £1.7 million for Dementia UK over recent years.
A food bank collection point has also been installed to support the great work of The Well (Wolverhampton Food Bank) as it continues to manage the increased demand caused by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
To mark the launch, the store made a special donation of food and essentials to the food bank.
The new food store offers shoppers features such as:
· Self-service checkouts for those looking to make a quick purchase and a charging bar where people can charge their mobile phones
· An extensive food-to-go section including two Insomnia Fairtrade Coffee machines, Tango Ice Blast, F’real Milkshake and iSqueeze Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice machines, as well as hot food
· An instore bakery and a wide variety of products including the Co-op Fairtrade and Irresistible ranges and locally-sourced produce
· Special eco-friendly fridges, LED lighting and a free water refill station in line with the retailer’s sustainability goals
Store Manager Carl Smitheman said: “It’s great to have finally opened our doors and welcome our new customers and members to see our fantastic new store and see what we have on offer.
“All of us here are proud to be part of such a great community in Wolverhampton and are excited that the Commonwealth Games is underway with lots of events taking place in the area and many fans and athletes coming through the station across the next fortnight.
“Therefore, it was fantastic to welcome athletes from Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club to join us on our opening day and help us cut the ribbon and promote getting active and getting involved in sport.
“We had a great atmosphere on the day with the excitement of the launch and it was wonderful to have performers from Wolverhampton Grand Theatre’s Memory Cafe come and perform. I was also happy to begin our relationship with The Well Wolverhampton and support their vital work.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank locals and commuters for their patience as work on the store has progressed. It’s been long-awaited, but hopefully everyone will enjoy the store as much as we do.”
Wolverhampton is playing a central role in the Commonwealth Games as it holds the Cycling Time Trial event in West Park, while it’s already been a great summer for athletics in the city with hometown hero Matthew Hudson-Smith taking bronze at the recent World Athletics Championships.
Mary Harding, President of Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club, which has been based at Aldersley Leisure Village for the past 55 years, said it was an exciting time for sport and athletics in particular in the city and for the club which boasts a proud history.
She said: “Wolverhampton and Bilston AC’s members have competed at the highest level – we have seen Olympic medallists, World Championships, European and Commonwealth Games representatives, and national and regional champions who have all started their journey at club level.
“The Club has worked hard and been rewarded with the Queens Award for Volunteering, an award equivalent to an MBE at club level. This is a huge honour for the Club, and everyone involved.
“On behalf of Wolverhampton and Bilston AC we are very proud to be invited to the new store launch in Wolverhampton and we hope to forge a link with Central England Co-op going forward.”
The Wolverhampton Railway Station Co-operative food store is now open from 6am-10pm, Monday to Sunday.
The store will offer a wide range of products from everyday necessities to something a little more special, with fresh fruit and vegetables, an in-store bakery offering breads and pastries, chilled beers and wines, fresh and frozen product, as well as Lottery and Paypoint.
Have a look at some images from the launch and of the new store here: