Martha Makin, Customer Team Member

I’m Martha, a customer team member working in Canal Rd, Cwmbach store in South Wales – where I’m from.

Bristol is my home in term time as I’m at university studying social policy. I also work in the very busy High Kingsdown Co-op in between lectures.

Co-operatives Fortnight has been an eye-opener for me these last few weeks. It’s a great way of letting people know about what makes co-operatives different from other businesses – how they’re owned and run by members who share all profits.

Spreading the word

Last week I went to a conference put on by Wales Co-operative Centre called Building a Co-operative Society in 2018.

There was such a variety of different co-operatives there: digital, tech, housing associations. Until then I was oblivious to this world really.

It’s amazing that everyone I spoke to was speaking about things I’d been learning on my course.

Martha Makin with colleagues

Martha with Co-op colleagues and Member Pioneers at the Wales Co-operative Centre event

I’m more aware than others but before I worked for Co-op I didn’t know half the amazing things they do so it makes me think – how can we spread the word?

My store is right next to Bristol University and I’d say they’re very politically and socially aware. But more than half the students probably don’t understand that the store they all shop in reflects their own values.

In every way they can, Co-op is trying to give back to somebody and help out disadvantaged people.

We need to get that message out there. So I’d encourage all our colleagues to tell their fantastic Co-op stories making sure you use the hashtags #thecoopway and #coopdifference.

A business that works for the common good

I knew I didn’t want to do a degree which would help me get a greedy job and work in a greedy business (a big corporate business). Co-op works for the common good.

The Co-op values are reflected every day in every store. It feels great to work for a business where my values are the same.

Co-op’s induction was fantastic. It gave me the background of Co-op, and the idea of co-operatives. I feel like I’ve referred back to what I found out during that with every customer I’ve served.

Every time anyone buys Fairtrade chocolates or roses I make sure I tell them how they’re helping communities on the other side of the world.

Martha Makin
Customer Team Member (CTM)

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. >I knew I didn’t want to do a degree which would help me get a greedy job and work in a greedy business (a big corporate business). Co-op works for the common good.

    I’m so happy to read this – I applied to work at the co-op because of the co-operative business model. I actually specifically relocated 300 miles for the co-op business model. In my interview for my job here they asked ‘why do you want to work for the co-op’ and I specifically called out the co-operative business model. I’m not motivated to bend over backwards just to put value in shareholders pockets, I’m doing it because the profits go back into the business and into local communities.

    It’s the number one reason why I champion the co-op over other retailers, we never talk about it here and I think that’s a massive shame. All my friends think we’re set up like everyone else, when I explain how the membership model works they always respond positively, but it’s always a surprise to them. It’s actually really important to my engagement working here. And the general public are rightly getting sick of increasing wealth inequality in this country, we’ve seen so many popular brands decline trying to maximise shareholder value rather than actually serve their customers, and I love that the co-op is protected against that by design.

  2. But we are a big corporate business. We outsource if its cheaper. Recently moved everyone over to Development plan based yearly increases to ensure each year people fall behind and see their wages drop in real terms. We are better than other companies but please don’t overuse the rose tinted glasses. After 5 years here I have seen pretty much the same things I have seen working or British Gas, Dixons group etc.

  3. Great story and insight Martha, thank you for sharing the great work the co-op does for our society.

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