Oldfield Park Co-op celebrates 50 years
Current and former members of staff have joined up with regular customers to celebrate the 50th birthday of a Bath supermarket.
The Co-op in Oldfield Park opened in the old Scala cinema building on November 17, 1962, with a guest appearance from actor Peter Adamson, who played Len Fairclough in Coronation Street.
At the time it was the first store of its kind in the city and staff and customers have been reminiscing about how times have changed over the years.
Angela Kennard started working there at the age of 17 and, apart from a short break when she had her children, stayed there until her retirement two years ago.
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The 66-year-old, who lives in Oldfield Park, said: “This shop was just so different to anything we had before, back then you were mostly getting served across the counter, but here it was self-service with baskets and trollies.
“The food has changed so much now too. I remember when we had coleslaw for the first time and we all ran down to have a look and see what it looked like.”
Brenda Evans, 77, also from Oldfield Park, started working at the Co-op for what she thought was a temporary job but ended up staying for 22 years.
She said: “It was really fun working here, we really enjoyed it and we never wanted to leave.”
To mark the store’s milestone birthday, there was a celebratory cake and a display of old photographs detailing the site’s history.
Manager Bob Hegarty said it had been a good opportunity for the older members of the community to come together and talk about the past.
He said: “A lot of our customers are older and we have had many of them coming into the shop to look at the display and remember when it used to be the cinema and when it first opened.”
Edgar Evans, who sits on the Co-operative Group’s local area committee, was involved with the store’s opening 50 years ago.
He said: “I remember we had 2,000 people waiting to come in here on the opening day. It was something so different they wanted to see what was going on.
“I think the Co-op introduced the concept of self-service and that is really what has changed in food shopping over the years. Instead of having someone cutting and weighing your rashers of bacon, it is now all pre-packed.”
Among the long-standing customers at the birthday celebrations were Marian and Michael King, who have been shopping there since they married in June 1963.
Mrs King said: “We always come here because we are very satisfied with what we get here and the staff are very nice and helpful.”