The Tamworth Co-op Department Store has many new and tantalising offers in-store. Our range includes the latest fashions and top brand names for all the family. With everything you could ever need for your home, from electricals and furnishings to DIY and fashion goods as well as gift items Tamworth Co-op has something for everyone
The early days of co-operation in Tamworth were very similar to those in many other parts of the country.
In 1844 the Pioneers initiated the Rochdale Society, and by 1865 the Movement had made progress throughout the North of England and had also established itself in the Midlands, in Derby, Stafford and Leicester amongst others.
In 1865 a Society was formed at Fazeley, a couple of miles from the Tamworth Centre, but this prospered for only about two years and was then dissolved.
From 1868 to 1872 further attempts were made within the Tamworth area and, in 1872 a Society was formed at Wilnecote, approximately three miles from the Tamworth Town Centre, which alas again only lasted for about three years before it was dissolved.
On the 13th November, 1886 a meeting was arranged in Tamworth, and this was attended by just over eighty people and was addressed by two members of the Stafford Society. It was decided at that meeting to form a Committee of twelve and to set up a Society in the town, with the local Vicar, Reverend William MacGregor appointed as the first Treasurer of the Society.
The Reverend William MacGregor was a great benefactor to the town, and apart from his endeavours on behalf of the church in the region he also founded the local hospital, erected swimming baths and became quite a rock on which this Society was built. His involvement with the Co-op resulted in his being vilified in the local press and he eventually resigned from the Vicariate due to this, although he remained for the rest of his long life within the Borough.
It is worthy to note that the chairs which were constructed individually for the original Committee of the Society are still in daily use in the Chief Executive's Office, and one of them still bears the initials of the Reverend MacGregor on the underneath of the seat.
On the 29th November, 1886 an initial consignment of forty pounds worth of assorted goods was ordered from the C.W.S. Limited to commence trading in Tamworth. The first employee was appointed, this being a lady by the name of Elizabeth Bradford and her commencing wage was the grand sum of nine shillings per week, for which she had to work seventy hours. The shop opening hours were then 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. on four days, 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8.00 a.m. until 10.00 p.m. on Saturdays. The first week's takings were approximately £15. The Co-operative News tried an advertisement from the Society during February 1887 for a Manager, and the first Manager appointed was a gentleman by the name of Samuel Hardy who came to the Society from the Clay Cross Society in Derbyshire at an initial wage of thirty shillings per week.
The Society joined the Co-operative Union during the second quarter of trading and in May 1882 the first Insurance Policy was taken out with the C.I.S. In 1890 the Society commenced banking with the C.W.S. Bank, since when the Society has maintained its links with these National Organisations.
The Society trade built up over the next few years and when Samuel Hardy, who by then had become the Secretary, resigned in 1898 the sales were approximately forty thousand pounds per year and Membership was 1800.
The dividend at that stage was 2/6d in the pound. By 1907 the sales had doubled to £80,719.3s.7d. and the dividend was still maintained at 2/6d in the pound. By the end of the war sales were approaching the half million pound mark. Membership was over 12,000 and the dividend had been reduced to 2s.Od in the pound.
By 1960 sales were over £one and half million. Membership over 18,000 and the dividend had been further reduced to Is. Id in the pound. The Society has continued to pay a dividend throughout its history and this has been an important factor in the build up of loyalty in the area.
In 1986, the Centenary year, sales were by then over twelve million pounds per annum. Membership had built up to over 35,000 and a special new dividend scheme was created which resulted in a total pay out of l0p in the £. This new dividend scheme is a unique one and extremely cost effective, the customers retaining their receipts and claiming back dividend on all purchases with the Society, except for those in Shoefayre, Travelcare, the Florists and the Cafeteria and Tobacco products. We have maintained this dividend scheme since its inception.
The Tamworth Society now consists of a very large Department Store with adjacent Grocery Kiosk and Bereavement Centre , a major Supermarket, 13 convenience stores, 7 Funeral Locations .
Additionally, 4 Post Offices with Food Stores ,Garage and MOT Centre.
It is interesting to note that the Supermarket just mentioned, has not got a single parking space due to its location, and yet boasts a turnover which would put to shame the turnover of many Superstores in the Country. This is primarily due to the caring service which is given. We are pleased to still operate the delivery service from the Supermarket to most areas within the Borough. In addition the Society still operates the traditional order book system, which many of the older residents of Tamworth may recall.
The success of the Society has been built up on the loyalty of its Staff and Members and the continuity of its Management. The current office holder is only the eighth Chief Executive since the Society was formed in 1887.
In 1992 the Society was fortunate to be awarded both the C.W.S. Caring Trophy and the Co-operative Press Advertising Award for its social content, and in 1993 the Society was highly commended for its caring policy and short-listed for the Accounting Standards Award. Whilst these awards are no longer made, the Society has maintained it's high reputation for being deeply committed to it's involvement in the local Community.