Retired Co-op manager heads back to shopfloor to support local community

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Colleagues at a Central England Co-op food store in Atherstone have been given a helping hand by a familiar face from the past as they continue to work around the clock to serve the local community.

Dave Bailey retired as a store manager from the Society six years ago but has heeded the call during these uncertain times to get back on the shopfloor to provide a welcome boost to the team at the Long Street Food Store.

Bailey, 63, was a store manager with Central England Co-op for 21 years, leading shops across the West Midlands.

However, he began his career in retail over 40 years ago at the very same store he is now supporting, and he is even working alongside several colleagues who he worked with back at the very beginning.

Bailey, from Polesworth, said: “To be honest I was watching the news and getting a bit despondent about the situation and I was looking through my phone at Twitter and I saw Central England Co-op was recruiting for people on three-month contracts to support stores.

“I thought it was my chance to do my bit, so I got in touch with my old manager to see how I could help and I’ve ended up back the same store I worked in 40 odd years ago, before Central England Co-op even owned it.

“It’s a great feeling to be back and it’s nice not having that responsibility of being a manager! There are also three colleagues here who I’m working with who were here all those years ago when I started which is lovely.

“All the team have been really friendly and helpful and despite the circumstances the customers have also been smiling and wishing us well.”

Bailey started back at work on Monday and will be with the team for at least the next three months. His new manager Andy Johnson, Store Manager at the Long Street Central England Co-op, said Dave had been a very welcome addition to the team.

He said: “It has been a real positive. It has been great for the guys who still remember him from when he worked here before, but it has just been a real lift for everyone to see an ex-manager coming back to help.

“Dave is a really nice guy with a great work ethic. This is not something he has to do but something he wanted to do and any support in these challenging circumstances is really appreciated.”

Central England Co-op is still recruiting for temporary Customer Service Assistant roles to ensure the community continues to be served. Three month rolling contracts are on offer and people must be flexible with shift patterns and locations. Ask in store for more details.

People can keep up to date with how Central England Co-op is responding to the Coronavirus by visiting www.centralengland.coop/updates