Co-op to open eighth university franchise store, in Aberdeen

September 10, 2021

The Co-op will open its eighth university franchise store next week, in Aberdeen, taking the number of students it serves to more than 150,000 across the UK.

The 1,600 sq ft store will sit in the main student accommodation area of the campus, catering for students who need to top up on grocery, BWS and “treating”. There will be hot food, bakery, coffee and food to go available as well.

It will also be running a ‘Feed the Flat for £5’ deal to help bring new students together “at this new time in their lives”. It aims to provide students with a range of products to live off without leaving the campus, the retailer said.

”Many campuses are often very light on or have no offer at all around a meal for tonight and this is one area where can add real value” Co-op head of new channels Martin Rogers told The Grocer.

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Its other university franchise stores, based more centrally on campus, look to cater to students’ unique trading pattern: “on the hour, every hour”. They include Keele, which opened last week.

“We have spent a lot of time and effort with our partners ensuring that customers and members can get in and out as quickly as possible, often between lectures and appointments,” added Rogers.

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“We are also proud that our university and student union partners employ several hundred students in these stores, helping them pay their way through university and creating more employment opportunities in our wider Co-op.

“The power of our partnerships across university campuses is helping us to grow lifetime loyalty and brand advocacy.”

The site in Aberdeen is due to open on 16 September.

By Alice Leader

Source: The Grocer

One Stop to open over 100 franchise stores this financial year

July 22, 2021

One Stop is set to open over 100 franchise stores in the current financial year.

The Tesco-owned retailer told The Grocer it has opened 22 franchises since the beginning of the financial year in March. It has plans in place for a further 37 openings over the next four months and is also in discussion with more than 50 retailers.

The franchise arm currently comprises of 222 sites.

In April One Stop promoted former franchise operations controller, Matt Elliott, to national recruitment manager to drive its franchise business.

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Elliott heads up a new team of five retail experts that work across different regions of the UK so the business can recruit and explore new opportunities quicker.

One Stop said it is now interviewing for two more candidates to add to the team for the north east and Bristol areas.

“We’ve seen a significant uplift in interest in the One Stop brand and their job is to handle that,” said One Stop head of franchise John Miller.

“But we’ve got to be confident it’s the right demographic, it fits the model, and that the retailers’ expectations are met. Our mantra is: ’right store, right retailer’.”

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The business had recently made a “substantial investment” into relaunching its website over a four-month period since November, as well as to boost its social media marketing.

This has triggered a 400% increase in web traffic since the start of the year, and a 250% rise in enquiries in June compared to last year.

“With that coming through, we needed a team of people to manage all this extra activity that it’s driving,” added Miller.

“One Stop works well in a low to mid demographic, suburban, housing estate. But we’re also opening stores in some more high street locations. We just opened a city centre store in Hull.”

Miller added that “cold start” sites had also become a strong area for franchise.

Related: One Stop Franchise

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a growing number of stores we’re opening from empty sites. Whether that’s a retailer that’s acquired an empty site, or a retailer we’ve got that’s looking for more sites.”

This included the former Mole Valley Farmers site, in Bridgend, Wales, that was transformed into a 2,900 sq ft store by One Stop franchisee Paul Thomas.

This was Thomas’ second site with One Stop, which has traded over £40,000 a week since opening on 26 February.

“As we emerge from Covid, I think there’s a real confidence in the convenience industry, and a resilience where people are excited to invest more money, more time and more effort into it,” said Miller.

By Alice Leader

Source: The Grocer

Co-op eyeing 40 franchise stores by the end of the year

July 9, 2021

The Co-op is set to take its franchise estate to almost 40 stores by the end of the year, well ahead of its original target.

The convenience retailer said in March that it wanted to double the number of franchise stores to 30 by the end of 2021. However, it has already reached 28 stores and has plans to open a further 11 in the next few months.

Co-op opened 14 franchise stores over an 11-week period from mid-March.

The franchise estate covers a range of store types and locations spanning community neighbourhoods, city centres, university campuses and petrol forecourts, as well as its first service station, which opened in March.

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Its seventh university franchise store, in Keele, is set to open in September.

“The quality, convenience and values of Co-op are resonating more strongly than ever with a growing proportion of the population and we’re delighted to see more of our valued independent retailers choosing Co-op as their franchise partner,” said Co-op head of new channels Martin Rogers.

“We’re a business that’s growing and innovating to give our customers more of what they need, and the breadth of our franchise operation is allowing the Co-op brand to reach even more of our customers in new communities.

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“We started the year with 14 franchise stores, which we’ve already doubled, and will be at around 40 by the end of 2021. This is all testament to the strength and diversity of the model and the flexibility of the proposition.

“We’re looking for the right retailers in the right locations who share our values and principles to become part of the Co-op community and grow their business with us.”

By Alice Leader

Source: The Grocer

Co-op Unveils Plans for New Franchise Store

May 31, 2021

The company has signed its next university franchise store, with a shop set to open at Keele University in September.

With university stores already operating at Leeds, Kent, Newcastle, Oxford Brookes and Stirling, Keele is the seventh Co-op franchise store to open across six universities, supporting the Co-op’s strategy to get closer to communities and to where what its customers want, need and, care about.

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Stocking a tailored range of great value and quality Co-op own brand products, as well as a wide range of Fairtrade, free-from and vegan options, it will bring both value to the campus experience and students’ pockets, with the Co-op being the only grocer to offer an exclusive 10 per cent student discount to TOTUM card holders.

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Martin Rogers, head of new channels at Co-op, said: “Our university franchise stores are a great opportunity for us to grow our brand, share our values, and get our products into the hands of the next generation of customers and members and as the exclusive retail grocery store franchise partner for The National Union of Students (NUS) and we’re already serving c.150k students up and down the country.”

Source: Retail and Leisure International

Treat for geeks in store as couple prepare to open new town centre business

May 27, 2021

A gaming family is set to turn a hobby into a business with the launch of a Geek Retreat store in Ipswich town centre.

Newly-weds Sharon Lockhart and Rob Harden are busy planning the new gaming shop from their garden shed in Bedfield, near Debenham.

They hope to open it by September or before — subject to planning permission.

Ex-teacher Sharon and former accountant Rob — who commuted to London for many years — tied the knot in December after originally postponing the ceremony due to the Covid pandemic.

Sharon — who has also run events and social media — said they decided to apply to run a store on a franchise basis after hearing about it from their eldest son, who is a customer where he lives.

Gaming retailer Geek Retreat announced its plans to expand into Norfolk, Suffolk and north Essex in November last year by launching 14 new stores around the country and many more over the coming years.

The business was started with a store in Glasgow in 2013 with its comic bookstore, gaming café and events hub format and from there expanded to 14 other city centre locations.

It aims to provide customers with a space to enjoy “geeky” interests and games, and also a “safe place to meet and play in an inclusive, welcoming, and social environment” for vulnerable customers such as those on the autistic spectrum or with mental health issues.

Rob went up to Glasgow to meet the team including franchise founders Peter Dobson — its chief executive — and Steve Walsh and liked the inclusive nature of the business. Both felt the business fitted their family — which includes six children and partners, and one grandchild — perfectly.

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“We both decided during lockdown to do something different,” explained Sharon.

“When we heard that there was a chance to get involved in the business and to open our own store, we jumped at the chance.

“Rob went to Glasgow to meet the founders Steve and Peter and we knew straight away that this was the perfect fit for us.

“We love the idea of people socialising and especially after a year of being so isolated from other people. We are a gaming family so a lot of what is offered in the shop is our interests anyway. Plus we love shakes and treats.”

They have set up their own limited company to run the Ipswich store on a franchise basis.

“This is the best of both worlds for us — we get to run our own family business but supported all the way by the amazing experience and knowledge of the head office,” said Sharon.

“We are doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work, getting the plans together takes a lot of work but is super exciting. We are also setting up social media and community contacts, ordering stock and building a community.

“We like that people are already chatting in our social groups about their interests and have had people say they are nervous to go out but they feel comfortable and cannot wait to come to the shop when we open.”

Their aim when the shop opens is to attract people from all walks of life, said Sharon.

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“That is the lovely part. There are lots of people out there with really strong interests in gaming and we want to provide the right environment for them to pursue their passions. We will have regular events for lots of the most popular games with special offers and prizes.

“But we also want to have special nights for those with autism and run things like mums and tots groups too — we want everyone to feel welcome, our mission is to be the friendliest place to meet, eat, shop and game.

“It is a fun café with an opportunity to try a new game, trade or participate in special events and tournaments.”

There’s already a great deal of interest and they attracted more than 200 Facebook followers in just over a week. The feedback so far has been “extremely positive”.

They have met with experts in various games and are working with them to develop groups and events when they open. They have also been talking to special needs support groups.

The whole family has got involved with the older children helping out with ideas. Even their eight-week-old grandson has a costume ready.

Their plan is to work together to build the gaming community in Ipswich, said Sharon.

“We want to be more than a shop,” she explained.

“The timing is right for people to want to do something — and the food is excellent too — comfort food with geek culture-themed shakes.”

They had chosen Ipswich for the venture as they live locally and feel it will give people a reason to come to town to meet up with friends or like-minded people, she said.

“We have been sad to see the devastating effect of Covid on the town centre and it is destination shops like Geek Retreat that will help bring people back to the shops.”

If planners give their proposals the thumbs up, the couple hopes to launch the shop in a former Age UK store in Upper Brook Street.

The new franchisees aim to be at the Comicon at Trinity Park in Ipswich on July 17/18 to meet people.

By Sarah Chambers

Source: Ipswich Star

Your CBD Store Celebrates One Year in Franchising, Achieving Monumental Growth and Earning Accolades

May 17, 2021

Your CBD Store is celebrating one full year in franchising and today unveiled a look at the brand’s substantial growth, as well as details on its 200th franchise signing and news of its placement on the “500 Fastest Growing Franchises” list for 2021 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the close of our first year in franchising and the accomplishments our team has achieved in such a short period of time,” said Bill Van Den Acre, vice president of franchise operations and support at Your CBD Store. “By providing a low-cost entry franchise model and unparalleled support across the board, we are helping aspiring entrepreneurs tap into the incredible interest surrounding the growing CBD industry, giving them a profitable way to make a positive impact on their community, delivering quality, award-winning products to promote healthy lifestyles.”

Achieving Impressive Growth Trajectory, Signing 200th Franchisee in Less Than Three Years

Founded in 2018 by Rachael and Marcus Quinn, Your CBD Store has expanded to more than 550 affiliate stores, and 200 of those are franchise locations. Steven Rall of Dover, Delaware became Your CBD Store’s 200th franchisee, signing his agreement earlier this year. A retired United States Air Force veteran, Rall spent much of his life dedicated to the aviation industry, honoring his country, and working for Lockheed Martin. After Rall started realizing benefits from the use of CBD products himself, he began exploring the idea of entrepreneurship with Your CBD Store. Knowing the excellent support and reputation of the brand, Rall initially launched an affiliate location in 2019, and has now converted to the thriving franchise model.

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“I opened my store a few months before the pandemic hit and my business has grown immensely over the last year through word of mouth,” said Rall. “I’ve seen increased traffic throughout my community, showing how much need there is for these products. I’m focused on creating a special in-store experience and spending time with my customers to ensure they select the best products for them, and I try to take a very tailored, personal approach to customer service. The Your CBD Store team goes above and beyond for their franchisees, like me, to ensure we have the best training, communications, and more, and I am so excited to look ahead to a great future as part of this brand.”

Accruing Accolades

Beyond its impressive growth numbers, Your CBD Store has begun capturing the attention of several media and corporate awards programs. Most recently, the brand ranked number 36 on Entrepreneur’s “Top New Franchises” list for 2021, as well as number 47 on the magazine’s “Franchise 500 Fastest Growing Franchises” 2021 round-up. This accolade follows Your CBD Store’s distinction on Entrepreneur’s “Franchise 500 Top Low-Cost Franchise” list just a few months ago.

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“When we got into franchising, we knew there would be outstanding interest around our concept, and we continue to see terrific momentum as we head into Q2 2021,” said Van Den Acre. “The awards we’ve won demonstrate just how timely our entry into franchising has been, and we look forward to what lies ahead for our brand, as well as for our expanding network of franchise owners across the country.”

Source: PR Newswire

Co-op convenience store has opened its third franchised unit this year

April 23, 2021

Co-op has opened its third franchised unit this year in St. Helens, Merseyside. The outlet, a former SPAR, has been extended and transformed into a new 3,000 sq. ft. Co-op convenience store.

Stephen Richards, the store owner, commented: “We’re really excited to launch Co-op’s first franchise store in the town. It looks fantastic and we are looking forward to welcoming the community into their new store, where we have worked to develop the range, choice, products and services locally that will create a really compelling offer in the community.”

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Martin Rogers, head of new channels at the Co-op, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Stephen and his store to the Co-op family, which is testament to the compelling franchise model we can offer independent retailers.

“Located in a great community and opposite a large sixth form college, this store is going to help us reach a younger demographic and help drive awareness of the Co-op values to new audiences.”

The Co-op says that customers will benefit from a comprehensive range of fresh, healthy produce, ready meals and pizzas along with an in-store bakery, award-winning wines, Fairtrade, free-from, and vegan options and a wide range of everyday grocery essentials.

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The store also offers a large food to go proposition including sandwiches, drinks, Costa Coffee and a hot food range. The Co-op adds that the local community also benefits with funding to local causes through its Co-op Membership scheme.

Co-op franchises operate in a variety of settings from universities and independent retailers to Nisa partners, and recently opened its first franchise outlet at a service station in Cornwall. The company says that it offers a full-service franchise model and a unique proposition for independent retailers.

Source: Franchise World

Co-op opens first service station convenience store in Cornwall

March 26, 2021

The Co-op has launched its first franchised store at a service station, with the opening of Co-op Cornwall Services. The new outlet is the 15th franchised store for the convenience retailer.

Its existing franchise estate includes independent retailers, university campuses, Nisa partners, Costcutter company-owned stores and its first partnership with a catering business, Gather & Gather. The Co-op sees the new service station store highlighting the brands breadth, diversity and agility of its franchise proposition.

The company says the new 2,000 sq. ft. Co-op store (located off the Victoria Interchange junction off the A30) will open between 7am-10pm seven days a week, support 20 local jobs and run on 100 per cent renewable electricity.

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Designed to service business travellers, commuters and tourists who pass through the area, the store offers customers an extensive food-to-go range with hot and cold sandwiches, snacks and chilled drinks. An in-store bakery will also offer pastries and Co-op’s Ever Ground Fairtrade coffee.

Martin Rogers, head of new channels at the Co-op, said: “We’re always looking for ways to reach new customers and members, and our Cornwall Services store is a great example of how our franchise model can flex to work in a number of different locations to meet differing customer missions.

“The Cornwall Services’ Co-op is a fantastic looking store in a cutting-edge service station in the heart of the county and will add a real point of difference for commuters, giving them access to award-winning and quality food on the go.

“Our franchise offering has gone from strength to strength as we focus on generating mutual value with forward thinking like-minded partners and our expertise and learnings in this area are helping us access new markets all over the country.”

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Mark Upton, the store owner, said: “We’re really excited to launch the first ever Co-op in a service station site at Cornwall Services. The store has a fantastic modern look, a substantial range and competitive prices that provides a convenient solution for tourists and for local people to stop off and top-up on their commute.”

The Co-op also reports that it has recently upgraded its membership at the BFA and is now an associate member of the association, which it sees as reinforcing its brand as a credible franchise partner.

Through its full-service franchise model, the Co-op says it offers a unique proposition for independent retailers who share its values and principles to become part of the Co-op community, giving more customers access to stores, in great locations by providing award winning food and drink, conveniently.

Source: Franchise World

A new Co-op store to open at Cornwall Services on A30 near Bodmin

March 17, 2021

The Cornwall Services on the A30 is expanding with a new onsite Co-op franchise store.

The new store, near Bodmin, Cornwall due to open on March 18 is expected to create 20 jobs.

It is part of a £500,000 investment by Co-op in Cornwall.

Including an in-store bakery, the new Co-op will offer a wide selection of fresh produce, store cupboard essentials and ready meals including all the leading brands in addition to a selection of local regional items.

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Erica Smedley, the store manager said: “Whether it’s popping in for essential groceries, a sandwich on the move or picking up a ready meal on the way home from work, everyone will benefit from great value prices, seven days a week opening and free and easy parking.”

The chain said it will be donating dinner kits, tote bags of essential groceries, to two local charities Fair Exchange Bodmin which is a community support group set up during the pandemic and St Petrocs, the charity working to end street homelessness in Cornwall and which already has a contactless collection point at Cornwall Services.

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Iain Inchley from St Petrocs, said: “Maintaining a healthy diet for people experiencing homelessness can be difficult, but it has been even harder over the last year so food donations such as these are vital in helping people stay healthy and move forwards with their lives.”

Mark Upton, franchisee and part of the commercial team at Cornwall Services, said: “We believe the new Co-op will be a hugely popular addition for both locals and tourists alike – and being the first service station in the country to have a Co-op store on site is very exciting.”

By Olivier Vergnault

Source: In Your Area

Ableworld Northwich generously supplies 23 cushions to local care home

February 1, 2021

Part of the Ableworld national mobility retail chain, the Ableworld Northwich team has been able to help a local care home by supplying 23 much-needed cushions for residents.

Brothers Andrew and Chris Matzen have set about raising money for Elmhurst Intermediate Care Centre, based in Winsford, Cheshire, in honour of their dad Ronald Matzen. Ronald was a resident at Elmhurst Care Centre when he passed away and to show their support to the care home, Andrew, Chris and Grandson Lewis wanted to thank the home for taking such great care of him.

When Andrew contacted Elmhurst to see what supplies they needed, he was made aware that the care home needed an additional 50 cushions to have enough for all residents.

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Andrew then got in contact with the Ableworld Northwich store to see if there was anything the team could do to support his mission. The Ableworld Northwich team was able to offer a discount on the required cushions to help support the cause.

With the money raised from their dad’s funeral, Andrew and Chris were able to purchase a total of 23 cushions from Ableworld for the care home. Nurses Amy, Debbie and Emma were extremely thankful for this kind donation and said it will really help their residents.

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Ann, Store Manager at Ableworld Northwich, said: “We are really pleased we could help Andrew in his mission to support a local care home, it is a lovely thing to do. We are proud be able to play a small part in helping our local community through this difficult time, and wish Andrew every success.”

The Ableworld Northwich team delivered the cushions to Elmhurst recently, while socially distancing, and managed to meet Andrew and his family, along with staff from the care home.

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In December, Ableworld ranked among the top 50 franchised businesses in Elite Franchise magazine’s prestigious list. Ableworld ranked 46th out of the top 100 UK franchises for 2021.

In particular, Elite Franchise highlighted the company’s proven franchise model, attractive market conditions and the opportunity to build a profitable long-term business.

By Sarah Sarsby

Source: Thiis