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Wincanton Businesses Together Welcomes the Co-op to Wincanton

Thursday 1 January 1970, 00:00
By John Smith

Wincanton Businesses Together is absolutely delighted with the announcement by Rodney Strike, that after seven months of negotiations The Co-op has now officially taken over the lease of the former Coopers Food Store. We believe this is a major breakthrough for the residents and traders of Wincanton. The Co-op has a well established track record throughout the UK as an ethical and community minded retailer, and we look forward to working with them when they open on 1st April. We believe that this new Coop store will bring major benefits to the Wincanton.

The Coop will:The co-operative - new shop in Wincanton

  • Re-establish the heart in our town centre.
  • Once again provide a food retail outlet to the many people, (especially the elderly) who dearly miss the services previously provided by Coopers.
  • Attract new visitors to our town centre. The Co-op's proactive television and media campaigns will help bring new visitors in, and this in turn will help to breathe new life into all our High Street businesses.

WBT has been working hard with all parties since September 2009 with the sole aim of bringing this announcement to fruition. We would like to thank all parties concerned, and there were many of them, for their hard work and contribution in bringing this about. In particular we would like to thank Marcus The co-operative - new shop in WincantonLevico and Peter Soproniuk of the Co-op. There was a bit of a see-saw effect in that WBT's first involvement was a phone conversation with Peter, to make sure that he was aware of both the current residential developments in Wincanton, and the estimated future growth projected over the next 10/15 years. Peter took this onboard and the game was afoot as they say. In mid flow Peter left the Co-op and the project landed back with Marcus who worked hard with all concerned to bring this important deal to a conclusion. Thank you both.

However, special thanks must go to Rodney Strike. When advised by Coopers of their intention to close, and before WBT's involvement Rodney had worked tirelessly, contacting all possible businesses who could trade from this key town centre unit. He left no stone unturned. In effect WBT and others were only duplicating the many phone calls that Rodney had already made. Rodney had in fact already contacted the Co-op. When WBT spoke to all these same businesses it became clear that they were all rejecting Wincanton for the same reason. Wincanton was too small as a town.

The cooperative - new shop in WincantonWBT has built up an excellent working relationship with both Town and District Councils, and was aware that although Wincanton in its present situation is indeed a small town, the current planning permissions and suggested future plans would bring about a major change in its growth. We are thankful to Colin Winder for the major part he played in supporting and encouraging us in this important work. This led to a phone call with Marcus Levico to ensure that the Co-op was aware of the planned growth in Wincanton. This, we believe, was the turning point and we were delighted that this brought the Co-op to the table and that they worked tirelessly with Rodney to bring this deal to fruition.

Rodney has lived under a severe financial burden for many years, knowing full well that under the terms of the lease, if the current tenant left or closed their business he would have to pay the rent to the leaseholder. Sadly this happened and since the lease with Coopers came to an end he has had to cover all the rental payments. In this precarious financial position the majority of people would have called it a day and simply gone bankrupt. However Rodney did not, and at substantial cost to himself he persevered to the end so that this deal could happen. This has cost him dearly and in this whole deal he is the primary loser. But ethically and morally he stands tall and Wincanton owes Rodney a huge "thank you", that he stayed the course. Thanks also go to David Cooper and his family who also worked, and fully co-operated with Rodney when they decided to close the Wincanton store.

John Smith
Chairman - Wincanton Businesses Together

Wincanton Businesses Together


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