Central England Co-op welcomes three new store managers to lead teams on the frontline in the West Midlands

Three inspirational retail heroes in the West Midlands whose leadership has shone through during the Coronavirus pandemic are celebrating after securing permanent roles as store managers at Central England Co-op.

The colleagues have all been promoted through the ‘Leading the Way’ programme which gives team leaders within the retailer’s food stores the opportunity to progress to store manager roles.

All three colleagues have shown incredible drive and determination to reach their goal and have had to overcome significant challenges as they dealt with the unprecedented demands and changes to the normal way of working during these uncertain times.

The three new store managers and the stores they are now leading are:

  • Dan Pendleton, Gospel Lane Food Store, Acocks Green
  • David Mills, Brandhall Food Store
  • Andrew Johnson, Walmley Close Food Store, Sutton Coldfield

Among the new store managers is David Mills, who has permanently taken the helm at the retailer’s Brandhall Food Store, after almost 20 years with the Society and had most recently been acting manager at the retailer’s Walmley Food Store.

The 36-year-old from Longbridge said: “I feel really proud that the goal I set to become store manager has finally been fulfilled and can't thank the colleagues I've had the pleasure of working with enough as they have helped shape me into the person I am today.

“I have worked in many stores in the Birmingham area which I feel has had a massive impact on me, allowing me to adapt and change the ways in which we work quickly and effectively. I always felt that the one thing I needed was a base to call my own but would not change the journey I have been on to this point in my career.

“With everything going on with COVID-19 it's an ever-changing playing field and you can only stand back and be proud of how the Society has acted and how the stores have changed quickly while still completing their daily tasks.

“So far Brandhall has been great and the standards set by the colleagues on a daily basis only makes me feel even prouder knowing I am now the manager of this great store.”

Dan Pendleton has been appointed Store Manager at Central England Co-op’s Gospel Lane Food Store in Acocks Green, after completing a successful secondment at the retailer’s Swanshurst Lane Food Store.

The 32-year-old from Bartley Green, who started his career with the Society as a Customer Service Assistant when he was 18, said: “It feels great to have my first store as manager. I have worked really hard to get to the stage that I am at now and I have had great support throughout my career with the company.

“I have moved to a few different stores in my time and also helped cover many more this has been great at allowing me to see how other people work and picking up different skills along the way, which has all helped me improve myself and the stores I have worked in.

“During the current situation it is very challenging running a store, keeping up with all the changes going on and a new way of working.

“Keeping our customers safe and happy is also a challenge. You want to get the stock out for them as soon as you can but also have to look at how we are keeping them safe while we do this. We find that a friendly ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’ goes a long way with customers as many are unable to see loved ones and friends and only come out to do their shopping.

“I have had a lovely welcome to Gospel Lane. The colleagues here are very friendly and willing to help with any questions I have about the store and are willing to help out any way they can.”

Finally, Andrew Johnson has taken the helm at the retailer’s Walmley Close Food Store in Sutton Coldfield after 13 years with Central England Co-op, working his way up from a Customer Services Assistant and showing his leadership qualities in recent months after being seconded to acting store manager posts in Atherstone and Rugeley.

The 35-year-old from Hinckley said: “It feels great to be honest and is something I have worked hard for throughout my career with the Society. It feels good to finally be based somewhere on a permanent basis, knowing I can affect positive change for the store, colleagues and our customers.

“The colleagues at Walmley Close have been great with me so far and I’m really looking forward to working with them going forward.

“I guess it could be seen as a challenging time to take my first permanent store manager role, but I have always believed that I tend to work better under pressure and generally thrive off it. Being able to come to work during these times has kept a semblance of normality for me and I’m grateful for that.

“The job as a whole has its challenges whatever the current situation, but I have been lucky enough to work at some great stores with some brilliant managers which I think stands me in good stead to lead the team through this difficult period.”

People can keep up to date with what is happening in their local community in response to Coronavirus by visiting a dedicated online hub at www.centralengland.coop/updates


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral, travel and property investment.

Co-operatives have always been there for their communities; they were formed to protect them and help them flourish. 

Our 7,900 colleagues serving our Members and customers work hard to ensure that co-operative values, principles and spirit flow through everything we do to help support and improve our local communities.

Owned by hundreds of thousands of Members, we have over 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. 

We are proud of our reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.

We invest a percentage of our trading profit into local communities through our Community Dividend Fund scheme, have donated over £1.3 million to our corporate charity partner Dementia UK and also operate a pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands so unsold food goes to those in need.

Visit www.centralengland.coop for more information or follow us on Facebook or Twitter using @mycoopfood

Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle

Phone - 01543 421390

Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop