Food store team praise ‘fantastic community spirit’ during whirlwind first 12 months

Central England Co-op team thank Leicestershire villagers for community spirit during their first year in the village.

Food store team praise ‘fantastic community spirit’ during whirlwind first 12 months

Retail heroes at a village food store which launched a year ago following a £1.8 million investment by Central England Co-op have thanked the local community for their ‘incredible support’ during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Store Manager Tom Watson and his team at the Grantham Road Food Store in Bottesford thanked villagers for the ‘wonderful welcome’ since the ribbon was cut on the store in October 2019 and praised them for how they have supported colleagues during the challenges presented by Covid-19.

Overnight, the store had to introduce social distancing and other measures to keep colleagues and customers safe, before other guidelines from the Government such as the mandatory wearing of face coverings later came into force.

However, Tom said he and his colleagues have been so grateful for how the community have supported the measures and made the first 12 months a real pleasure for the new store team.

He said: “We could not have been happier with how the launch went last October and the wonderful welcome we have had in the village. They really got behind us from the start.

“None of us could have foreseen what would happen this year and it was big change for us all almost overnight in March, but the team pulled together and implemented the new measures quickly and successfully.

“The local community supported the measures so well and made it easier for us. People in the village generally look out for each other and want to support each other so take the guidelines and the measures really seriously.

“The community have been brilliant really. We have had really positive feedback that people feel safe with the guarding on the door, the safety measures in place, as well as how clean and tidy we kept the store at the time of ‘panic buying’ and so have chosen to keep coming back to us because of that.

“That’s had a really positive effect on the morale of the team. They’ve been really positive even in the tough times. We also have really strong relationships with the community as well and the relationships are just going from strength to strength.”

When the store launched last October, the team were joined by Bottesford Primary School, Grantham Food Bank and good cause The Family Bench to cut the ribbon and declare the store open, with both the food bank and The Family Bench given a donation to support their work.

Tom said he and the team have continued to show their co-operative spirit and look to support the community as much as possible, and that has only intensified through these uncertain times.

He said: “We are really proud to be part of the community in Bottesford and are proud to support some great causes in the area with the village skate park, library and local church among those causes we have supported with donations and hampers for raffles etc.

“We have four community champions in store who are there to help support the community, going out speaking to groups and seeing what we can do for them and that will keep going as the pandemic continues to impact so many.”

The Grantham Road Co-operative Food Store is open from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday with features including a free water refill station, a Costa Coffee machine, customer seating and a collection point for Grantham Food Bank.