The manager of a Co-op food store in Yorkshire which was struck by ATM thieves on its first day of trading has thanked the local community for their support after receiving a warm welcome to the village in his first two months in charge.
Colleagues at the Central England Co-op, in High Street, Barnby Dun were left shocked after thieves used a digger to steal an ATM from the site just 12 hours after the ribbon had been cut to mark the opening of the new £1.2 million investment back in July.
However, the team joined forces with others from across the business to make sure they were shut for less than 24 hours and re-opened quickly to offer the local community access to vital food and essentials.
Store manager Neil Holmes said the local community had been ‘fantastic’ after the opening day shock and thanked villagers for making him and the team so welcome.
He said: “People have been so welcoming to us and supportive after what happened. We were so proud to open the doors on launch day, so it was devastating to see what happened, but we were determined to reopen as soon as possible for the community and people were surprised that we managed to do it within 24 hours.
“We have had some lovely messages from customers coming in which has given the team a real boost and I would really like to thank them for such a warm welcome.
“We have a great team of colleagues here – 95% are brand new to the Society and from the local area so know the community well. What happened really bonded the team together and the temporary colleagues we recruited have also been really valuable in helping us in our first few weeks.”
The store is on the site of the former Star Inn public house in the village and includes a customer car park with electric car charging points, a free hot and cold water refill station, phone charging area, customer toilet, seating areas and a lifesaving defibrillator.
It also features on the outside of the store a specially created piece of artwork by children at nearby Barnby Dun Primary Academy thanking key workers for their vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neil said: “We have seen lots of children from the school come by with their families over the summer to see the artwork and it has been nice to see them so proud to be featured on the store.
“We donated £500 to the school’s ‘Books for Schools’ project to enable them to buy new books for pupils and are looking forward to seeing how we can work with the school in the future now they are back.”
The Society is working closely with South Yorkshire Police as they continue their investigation into the ATM robbery.
The Barnby Dun Central England Co-operative food store is open from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday.