The wait is finally over ... Whalley’s brand-new Co-op store will open today following a £630,000 investment – creating 16 jobs for local people.
Whalley stalwart and honorary president of the village’s chamber of trade, Joyce Holgate, will officially open the store at 10am.
The Whalley councillor will be accompanied by Ribble Valley Mayor Coun. Stuart Carefoot and his mayoress, Sarah Rainford.
Speaking about the opening, Coun. Holgate said: “On behalf of the members, may I welcome the Co-op to Whalley and thank them for using the investment for the centre of the village.
“Traders were initially really worried and I can understand why, but the roadworks had to take place and the scaffolding to the building was there for a reason as they had no alternative because the bulding was in a poor state of repair.
“The store will come with a car park. For 25 years I have been trying to find somewhere for people to park and this is the best we have in the village.”
The store, located on King Street – the former Whalley Arms pub – will have an in-store bakery and Costa coffee dispenser, alongside fresh, healthy foods, meal ideas, award-winning wines and essentials.
Whalley’s Co-op will also bring a funding boost to local good causes including Friends of Barrow School, Lancashire Women’s Centres BodyFit Programme and St Peter and St Paul’s School through its membership scheme.
Members receive a 5% reward on the purchase of own-brand products and services, with the Co-op donating a further 1% to local good causes.
Simon Douglas, store manager, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to carry out such a significant investment in Whalley and we are really looking forward to serving the local community. Our ambition is to ensure the store is a local hub, a real asset for the community.”
There will be offers and promotions in and around the store to mark its launch. And, students in the area holding a NUS extra card also receive a 10% discount off their groceries at the Co-op to support them during their studies.
Whalley councillor Terry Hill said: “I’m really pleased that at long last the store is opening.
“It will bring back into productive use a Grade II listed building, which had previously been left derelict for a number of years.
“The opening of the store will also create car parking spaces for shoppers and that can only be good for the village as people will come into Whalley, find it easy to park and browse around the shops. It will bring boost for overall trade into the village.”
In addition, Cosgroves are delighted that the Co-op have invested in the village.
Owner, Mr Paul Winckley, said: “There are so many positive aspects of them opening – the car park will now be usable again and we are sure that the extra footfall created by the Co-op will be beneficial to all our local retailers.
“We wish the Co-op every success in their new venture in Whalley.”