Kiran has been a store manager at the Co-op for six years and is currently the manager in our Thornton Road store in Bradford. This is her story.
“I’ve been in a few positions since joining in 2001, but my passion has always been in stores. I started off on the tills, and it was only after university that I realised I could do more. I progressed into an assistant manager position and then had a great time as an operations trainer for five years.
But I wanted to become a store manager, which I did in 2011. Since then I’ve managed two stores and become a mentor manager, helping new colleagues.
As a store manager we’re encouraged to be ourselves. We’re not micro managed, and there is trust to deliver our goals. We put our own stamp on our store and it’s like running our own business. I love developing people, picking out their strengths and allowing them to work on things that they’re passionate about. I’ve even upskilled area and regional managers!
“Retail, and being a store manager in particular, can be very tough and have long hours. But I trust my team. I developed them to where they needed and wanted to be so that the store can run efficiently. And it does, all because of them.
The change to the Co-op brand last year was really well received. Customers love it. And my store looks amazing. My store was refitted three years ago, but from the outside it looks like a brand new store. Working for the Co-op allows us to get involved in our local community. We’ve helped out with local schools and nurseries and even campaigned to increase awareness of bullying by putting a ‘buddy bench’ in the playground. The kids even designed it.
Co-op membership is really exciting. A lot of our customers are regulars and it’s great that they can get their 5% and 1% rewards. There’s been a real noticeable difference of our customers buying own brand products now too. I think above all, customers can see how and why we’re different now.
The 1% to our communities is fantastic and market-leading, and where we support is totally driven by our members. No one else does this with their membership schemes.
Your opinion and voice matters. It’s hard work and be prepared to get stuck in, from working side by side with your team to doing deliveries and cleaning. You do it all. But you don’t feel like a number. You’re empowered to help change the Co-op so that we can do business better for our customers, members and community.”
Co-op Store Manager