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A new Co-op store has opened ready to serve and support the Uckfield community.

The purpose-built store is located on Eastbourne Road, Ridgewood (Uckfield) and has been built on surplus land in the grounds of the Highland Inn. It aims to serve as a “community hub” and has created 13 local employment opportunities.

James Thirlway (Manager) jand pupils from Harlands Community Primary School who helped to cut the ribbon and launch the store to serve the community

It follows a long-term partnership with MRMU which launched its first Co-op franchise store at Cornwall Services in early 2021. Since then, the partnership has expanded with the recent opening of stores in Charfield (Gloucestershire) in December 2023, and Bugle village (Cornwall) in March 2023.

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The new store features customer car parking, a cash machine, in-store bakery and a Costa Express machine.

With a focus on fresh and healthy products, it provides meal ideas, everyday essentials, food-to-go, Fairtrade products and free-from, vegan and plant-based products.

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The store offers a soft plastic recycling unit for the community to recycle “soft plastics”. This hopes to ensure that all of the Co-op’s own food packaging is recyclable through either local authority kerbside collections or the in-store recycling unit.

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James Thirlway store manager said: “The whole team is delighted to launch Co-op’s newest store, to serve and support our community. We are really looking forward to welcoming Member-owners and customers into their new Co-op. Our aim is to operate at the heart of local life, we’ve worked to develop the range, choice and added services to create a compelling offer, conveniently. This includes a focus on delivering member-value so that the people who own our business, Co-op’s member-owners, benefit every time they shop.”