‘Sale of the century’ marks end of an era in Tamworth’s history

A closing down sale starting on Tuesday, April 13 will herald the final chapter of more than 100 years of trading at Tamworth Co-op’s iconic town centre store.

The former department store is to be the centrepiece of a major regeneration scheme which has been awarded  £21.65m million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund.

The original part of the building in Colehill is set to house a new business enterprise centre as part of the ambitious redevelopment.  The original façade will be preserved, with  the 1960s part of the building making way for a state-of-the art college. The new education centre will bring 1,500 students, staff and visitors to the heart of the town.

The closing down sale starts at Tamworth Co-op’s town centre store in Colehill on Tuesday, April 13th.

To mark such an important landmark in Tamworth’s history, local shoppers will be able to grab bargains of up to 70 per cent off normal prices.

“The event begins the day after the current restrictions on shopping are eased,” revealed store manager Philip White.

“Thousands of items will be greatly reduced in the fashion areas and also our home and textile department. We will also be selling some surplus fixtures and fittings as part of the store clearance exercise.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for our customers, but we would ask them to  ensure they wear face coverings and respect the social distancing measures introduced for everybody’s safety.”

The closing down sale will run each week from Tuesday to Saturday (10am-4pm) until trading permanently ceases later in the summer. Operations housed in the older section of the building are expected to continue trading from Colehill until a later date. These include the Mobility & Lifestyle shop, Eye Society optician, Tamworth Co-op’s Bereavement Advice Centre and membership services counter.

The Mobility & Lifestyle store will be relocating next door to premises formerly occupied by the Thomas Cook Travel agency.

“We are an independent business and delighted to be remaining permanently in the town centre,” said co-owner Richard Smith.

“We aim to complete our relocation before the end of the year. Tamworth Co-operative Society has been incredibly supportive and agreed to undertake the required alterations to our new premises. It will enable us to provide a fantastic new mobility retail store.

“Our premises in Colehill will offer even more choice for our customers. We are very excited about unveiling the shop once the work has been completed. In the meantime we will continue to trade in our current location.

“I’d like to thank Tamworth Co-op’s chief executive, Mr Julian Coles, and his team for their continued support over the last 12 years. We look forward to an even brighter future working with the Society in our new location.”

Mr Coles said the Society’s immediate concern was to work closely with all affected parties.

Tamworth Co-op’s central premises pictured in 1903.

“We are looking to redeploy staff to other parts of our business. We are also working hard with all of our commercial partners to find them alternative premises within the town centre.

“I know that the optician also intends to relocate in the town centre and fully maintain its close ties with local customers.”

He added: “There is, of course, great sadness that this signals the end of an extraordinary era in Tamworth Co-operative Society’s history which stretches back more than a century. However, we are fully supportive of the council’s plans because this imaginative regeneration scheme will breathe life back into the town centre. It is the right move for both the Society and the town itself.

“Tamworth Co-op is in excellent financial shape and is ready to embark on the next exciting chapter in our history for the benefit of our valued customers and members. We’re proud to be one of the last small, fully independent and local co-operatives in the country.

 “This will be one door closing, but it is also the opening of a new one. We are looking forward to serving the people of Tamworth and those in the surrounding areas for a very long time to come.”