UP CLOSE: Co-op store manager Sam Bradley in Macclesfield

Macclesfield Nub News was founded on principles of supporting our community. This includes promoting Macclesfield shops, businesses, charities, clubs and sports groups. We will be profiling some of these businesses and organisations in a regular feature called Up Close.

Today, we chat to Sam Bradley, store manager at Co-op’s Buxton Road store in Macclesfield, which shares similar community oriented values.

Located on 246 Buxton Road, this Co-op may be small in size, but it is mighty in how it helps the people of Macclesfield.

The Buxton Road store is one of the oldest Co-op’s in town, and has attractive original features of green tiling outside the storefront, a testament to the Co-op’s support of a communities’ heritage.

We met with store manager Sam Bradley, who comes from a family that has worked for the Co-op for three generations.

“I’ve worked for the Co-op for 17 years. The Co-op was the first job I ever had and it was in this Buxton Road store,” he said.

“I started off part-time when I was 16, and gradually worked my way through the ranks and became a store manager in 2019 in Bollington.

“And I was lucky enough to come back to this store and be given the store manager role last year.

“My family has got a bit of history with the Co-op. My Mum used to work as a funeral director for the Co-op in Macclesfield many years ago.

“And in this very store that I work in now, my grandad was a butcher in this store when it was a Co-op originally 70 years ago.”

Sam leads a team of 11 staff, for which he finds very rewarding.

“The nature of the job also allows us to have a good work life balance which is very important to me,” Sam said.

“It is not a regular Monday to Friday nine to five job. It is shift patterns here and there and it works out for everyone - especially in this store.

“The benefits of the Co-op are definitely values - they really commit and encourage us as colleagues to be ourselves. It is what makes us different from other retailers.

“Buxton Road is such a friendly local community feel store - everything - everyone knows everyone I know all the customers and we help each other out.

“In terms of what we did around the pandemic - even then it was very much a store local feel.

“During lockdown, we knew particular customers that were vulnerable. We'd go and help out those that weren’t able to get to the store, so they’d be ringing up and asking if we could drop their shopping off.

“Even if it was just dropping off newspapers - but the great thing is that customers started doing that for the community. They saw that we started doing that and would go ‘oh it’s alright I’ll go drop this paper off for you’ It became a big team effort from not just with us guys in the store, but with customers as well.”

Along with other Macclesfield Co-op stores and a funeral home, the Buxton Road Co-op food store supports causes through the Local Community Fund.

These include Duke Street community youth organisation JustDropIn, along with Depression Anxiety and Bipolar services on Park Street and a community café, The Green in the Corner on Hurdsfield’s Pennine Court.

“Obviously we’ve supported local causes throughout COVID, but the most recent thing we’ve done individually as a store is that we donated to a local football team,” added Sam.

“We gave back to the Sunday League club Dolphin FC - who are affiliated with Bollington FC - and I have seen Macclesfield Nub News have recently done an article on them.

“They approached us and we gave a cheque to them and were happy to oblige.

“That goes towards their costs for next season, the costs far outweigh anything else to run a community football team at that level, so we are very much glad to help them out.

“That one meant a lot to me especially as I love grassroots football, and being born and bred in Macclesfield, I support the football club Macclesfield FC.”

The Co-op has also brought in recent sustainable initiatives that you can find at Sam’s store.

“To help fight the plastic problem, the Co-op has got rid of bags for life and brought in biodegradable carrier bags,” said Sam.

“The biodegradable carrier bags are something that the Co-op has developed and rolled out, but also shared with other retailers and companies. “That’s what is different - and great - about the Co-op.

“They don’t just do something for themselves and say ‘that’s for us that no other retailers can do that’. They go ‘right we think you should do this as well’ - and help the wider community.”

The future community outreach plans for the Buxton Road store include reuniting with Morton Hall.

The Union Road community centre used to work with the shop a lot for coffee and care mornings before the pandemic. The store also hopes to get involved with more local schools and events.

Co-op membership helps support your local community, with great rewards for you too. When you buy selected Co-op branded products and services, 2p for every pound spent goes to you and we’ll give the same to local communities. Join us today online at this webpage or in-store.

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