This Saturday will mark the end of an era in Melton when the town’s Co-op store closes its doors for the last time.
Bosses at Central England Co-operative Limited announced the closure of the Scalford Road store in September, saying the decision was taken ‘following a full review of the store’s trading performance which showed a decline in sales with increasing losses projected in future years.’
The closure affects 41 members of staff, nine of whom have been re-located by the Co-op into other outlets.
It will be a sad day for many families who have worked at the Scalford Road store since it opened 32 years ago.
In Pat Gibbon’s case the memories go back even further than that. Pat, who is now in her 70s, worked for the company for nearly 39 years, working at the old store in Nottingham Street before it moved, but she’s among those to have been made redundant. Her daughter, Melton borough councillor Tina Culley, also once worked for the Co-op part-time as a teenager for a few years and was proud of her ‘Saturday girl’ job and working at the same place as her mum.
She said: “It’s going to be a sad day for a lot of people. The Co-op has been like an institution for the town, and for some customers going there has been their weekly routine and part of their lifestyle.
“As a teenager I was proud to have a part-time job there and to work where my mum worked. It was nice environment to work in and the people who worked there were lovely to work with.
“I know my mum, in particular, is going to miss some of the relationships she has built up with customers over the years.”
A spokeswoman for the Central England Co-operative Limited told the Melton Times this week: “The decision to close the store and Post Office was a difficult one and does not reflect in any way on the dedication and commitment of store colleagues to whom we are extremely grateful.
“Like other retailers we are constantly adapting to retail challenges at a local level, including the impact of competition, and unfortunately store closures are sometimes necessary to protect the long-term future and success of the society as a whole.
“The closure affects 41 members of staff who we’ve had discussions with about redeployment opportunities into other business areas or new stores being opened. We are pleased to have been able to relocate nine colleagues from the store into other outlets in the surrounding area.
“Following the last day of trading, the store will need to be secured whilst viable change of use options for the site are investigated.”
l The Post Office is set to move into the Bargain Booze store on Sherrard Street in due course. The opening date has yet to be confirmed.
Until the new-look branch opens customers are advised that Post Office services can be accessed from other branches including Welby Lane Post Office and Valley Road Post Office.