Retail chain invests nearly £1.7m in stores in Suffolk

From left, Central England Co-op colleagues with store manager Anna Alfredson and Vice Chairman of M

From left, Central England Co-op colleagues with store manager Anna Alfredson and Vice Chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council Councillor Barry Humphreys MBE cutting the ribbon on the new store in Stowupland Picture: KEITH MINDHAM - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

A regional retailer invested a significant sum in its Suffolk stores last year, creating 20 jobs in the county, figures reveal.

Central England Co-op said it invested more than £1.7m in creating a new store at Stowupland, which opened in June, and revamping an existing one at Pakefield, near Lowestoft, which was relaunched in August.

The investment formed part of a wider £12m spend across the region, with 10 new food stores and two new funeral booking offices launched across Birmingham, Stafford, Nottingham, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. The retailer runs 400 trading outlets across 16 counties.

MORE - Film goes behind scenes at Essex growing glasshousesIts new Stowupland store includes a petrol forecourt. Manager Anna Alfredson said the launch had been well received in the community.

"My team and I were so excited to finally allow our members and customers to see our new store. We are all from the local area - I live in Rickinghall and have worked at this site for 18 months, having previously been store manager at our food store in Eye for 12 years.

"The new store looks fantastic and customers have been making many positive comments about how it looks and the different products and services now available.

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"All of us here at Stowupland Food Store are proud to be part of such a great community and are enjoying welcoming all customers, old and new, to our new store."

Central England Co-operative said the new food stores offered shoppers an expansive range of products and are fitted out with pioneering new energy efficient refrigeration technologies and LED lighting to minimise environmental impact.

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Many have free water refill stations, phone charging areas, indoor and outdoor seating, collection points for local food banks and customer toilets.

Links also continued to be forged with the local community by inviting local schools to design special pieces of artwork that have now been placed on the inside or outside of the stores.

Store manager Paul Murray said: "All of us here at Central England Co-operative food stores across our trading area are proud to be part of such great communities and are looking forward to welcoming all customers, old and new, to come and enjoy our new and revamped food stores."

Further investment is planned in 2020 as part of its food store and funeral home development programme, the retailer said.

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