By Adnan Naqvi, Franchise Operations Lead
One of the things I love most about leading operations for Co-op franchise is working with different people, in diverse communities, with different experiences, and all of us sharing and learning from one other.
We’re always looking for ways to bring people together to make a difference, and reach new customers and members. Franchise is a hugely exciting opportunity to do this – working with like-minded partners, from a wide range of backgrounds, who believe in Co-op and understand we can help their business develop. And in return, we grow our reach into new locations and new communities. It’s the kind of growth that we couldn’t do alone, and our partners’ unique experiences help us do things in a way that’s just right for the store and its local community. By working together in a truly collaborative and inclusive way, we can share our experiences and get closer to our customers.
One great example of this is our latest university Co-op franchise store at Oxford Brookes that we launched last week. We have an exciting new partner, Gather & Gather, which Angel Square colleagues will recognise as our on-site catering supplier, who has opened its first retail shop as a Co-op franchisee.
It’s the first caterer at a University that we’ve awarded a Co-op franchise to – and we’re delighted to be developing our businesses together and bringing a brand new convenience store to campus to better serve the surrounding community.
The new Oxford Brookes campus store is one of our largest university stores, and our others at Leeds, Kent and Newcastle are all trading well, and amongst the top performers across our whole estate for our GRO brand. Our Co-op values chime with young people and, last year, we signed an exclusive deal with NUS to help open even more Co-op franchise stores on campus sites all over the country and build a new generation of Co-op fans. In the midst of the current pandemic, we’re also finding extra ways we can help make it easier for them to get the things they need.
And another great example of widening our access to new places, is the franchises we’ve launched this year with Nisa partners, which has got Co-op stores into more communities.
In the next couple of weeks we’ll open three more Co-op franchises – including one in rural Devon and our first in Scotland, with Nisa partner Zulf, in Stirling University.
We’re working on lots more too, and we couldn’t have done it without the amazing support from our field teams, as we keep lean and agile, responding to the opportunities of working with independent partners.
Although the current crisis has slowed down our openings a bit, we’re packing a few into this quarter, and are already building up to a bunch of exciting new openings early next year. We really enjoy working with partners who share our values and principles, to develop great relationships and grow our businesses together in new communities where we simply couldn’t be without franchise. Nearly ten thousand new members and over 400 franchise colleagues would agree!
To find out more, you can watch our video here: