Template:Infobox Co-operative Template:Distinguish The Midcounties Co-operative is the fourth-largest co-operative in the United Kingdom. It was formed on 24 September 2005 by the merger of the Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative Society (OSG) and the West Midlands Co-operative Society (WMCS). The co-operative's geographical trading area spans seven counties, including most of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, the area around Swindon in Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Buckinghamshire and additionally the West Midlands county.
It is a consumer co-operative, whose primary business is retailing in many of the central counties of England. A subsidiary, The Midcounties Co-operative Domains Ltd, operates the internet domain name registry for the .coop top level domain. In 2002, the co-operative became the first UK co-op to operate a children's day care facility. It invested in Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative in Watchfield, Oxfordshire, identified by its promoters as the UK's largest community-owned wind farm at its opening in 2008.
HistoryEditSome of the earliest local ancestor co-ops that combined with others to eventually form Midcounties Co-operative are:
Food Retail (The Co-operative Food)
The Midcounties Co-operative is one of the largest independent food retailers in the country with around 150 stores. It operates Supermarkets, Village Stores and 'Swift Shops' which are all to be converted to the unified Co-operative Food brand. The co-operative also owns the Stars News and Rusts brands.
Funeral Services (The Co-operative Funeral Services)
The Midcounties Co-operative Funeral Service covers six counties including Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, West Midlands and Staffordshire. It owns 70 funeral homes and 3 monumental masons.
Travel (The Co-operative Travel)
The Co-operative Travel, established over 50 years ago, is one of the largest independent agency chains with no link to the major travel operators. The Co-operative Travel operates 41 branches throughout the West Midlands, Worcester, Oxford, Swindon and Gloucester areas.
Pharmacy (The Co-operative Pharmacy)
The Midcounties Co-operative Pharmacy Group has 44 pharmacy branches and one specialist beauty and gift shop. It runs 11 branches in its Southern trading area (covering Oxfordshire, Swindon and Gloucestershire) – one in Swindon, five in Oxfordshire and five located in Gloucestershire, with the remainder located in the West Midlands. Each year more than two million prescription items are dispensed. In common with many other pharmacies, the group offers a wide range of extended services to customers, such as support to quit smoking, medicines use reviews, a weight management service and asthma reviews.
Car Dealerships (The Co-operative Motors)
Motorworld (also known as The Co-operative Motors) is a co-operative car dealership. Its franchises include Volvo, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Hyundai. The co-operative intends it to be the most socially responsible car dealership in the UK.
The property group provides a comprehensive management service for the co-operative's operational and investment portfolio, which encompasses 450 separate units of accommodation including over 100 residential dwellings.
Branding of businessesEdit
The Midcounties Co-operative is one of few independent co-operatives in the UK to decide to use "The Co-operative" branding in its stores (as shown above). Now, each store the Midcounties Co-operative opens will use the same style and logos as the The Co-operative Group.
Like most UK consumer co-operatives, the Midcounties Co-operative allows almost anyone to join, as long as they are over 16. When members join they are asked to invest a minimum of £1. This entitles members to a share in the business in the form of a deposit account. The scheme is run in conjunction with The Co-operative Group's membership scheme, allowing a Midcounties card to be used at businesses operated by some other co-operatives.
The membership card allows one to collect membership points either by spending in stores or attending membership events. Points are converted to vouchers twice a year, usually in May and November. The vouchers can be spent in any of Midcounties Co-operative's trading groups, or paid into the member's share account. There is also an option to donate the member's dividend to charity.
- ↑ The Midcounties Co-operative
- ↑ Energy4All Press Release, December 5, 2005, Westmill Wind Farm Celebrates Success of Public Share Launch. Retrieved on November 14, 2006.
- Midcounties.coop – group website
- Midcounties Co-operative Domains
- Imagine Co-operative Childcare
- Coop Travel – Travel business owned by Midcounties Co-operative
- Motorworld and The Co-operative Motors – Motor Dealerships owned by Midcounties Co-operative