Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Extensive refit within two months, a vast expansion in the product range and the door to Market Street is to be re-opened

A well attended meeting of the Hebden Royd Co-op Members’ Group yesterday evening was able to ask area manager Eddie Barnes a whole range of questions about policy, products, bags, disabled parking and much more. The manager of our Hebden Bridge store and several of his staff attended and the meeting was both informative and constructive in spite of Mr Barnes confessing that he had never been invited “to anything like this before”.

We were promised many changes and here are some of the main points which were made:

  1. Stock replacement: there will be a new system so that popular items will be replaced far more quickly than has been the case
  2. Product range: there will be a vast expansion of organic and vegetarian products.
  3. Suggestions for products: we are encouraged to make suggestions to the coop staff.
  4. Windows: the windows on the Market Street side are to be cleared.
  5. Free range - all eggs are now free range, and the coop is moving to make all meat products free range.

The following points remain unresolved but we were promised that management are looking into it

  1. Cycle parking -
  2. Disabled parking - the spaces for disabled parking are regularly taken by cars without blue badges.
  3. Composting waste from the store

With regard to packaging, the Coop nationally have reduced carrier bag use by 43% but it is been by well over half in the Hebden Bridge store. The Hebden Bridge store don’t offer carriers although they are available out of sight if people ask. It was reported that 16 other coop stores throughout the country are now using what they call the Hebden Bridge model in respect to bags. On being asked about a return to paper based bags, the reply was that these in fact have a heavier carbon footprint. The Coop is making other moves with regard to packaging. They are using thinner paper and glass - their whiskey bottles are “the lightest in the world”. Cucumbers are no longer wrapped.

One of the shop workers pointed out that many people choose to shop at the co-op because of its ethical policies. One thing which isn’t ethical is the low wages paid to its workers. “People who shop in the coop have a right to know about the low wages we are paid; way below the national average.”

The Co–op is the greenest retailer on the high street according to research for the Money Programme Special last year, How Green Is Your High Street?

Co-op members left the meeting feeling confident that the store is going to move in the right direction, and that local members can make a difference. If you would like to know about future meetings of the Hebden Royd Co-op Members’ Group, please contact myra.james@3-c.coop