Nominated by: Johanna Roberts
Where: Church Street, Eccles
The Co-op traces its roots back to Rochdale in the 1840s (see the post on the Co-op on Taylor Street, Stretford). Co-operative stores were generally quite small and sold mostly groceries and hardware, but Societies in larger towns and cities often had Central Stores – the Eccles store falls into this category. They resembled department stores in their organisation and the range of goods sold. Some also included meeting rooms and offered educational talks – part of the wider Co-operative ethos.
Johanna says of the Eccles Co-operative store:
It was a department store plus supermarket plus bank! It had everything. There was a real butcher in the grocery bit, and of course you got co-op stamps. There was a perfume department, clothing, furniture and toys, a Clarks shoe shop and even a cafe! My mum went weekly to pay her mortgage at a counter in there.
They had an amazing sale once where my mum and dad queued overnight to get a bargain.
It had a lift in which me and my mum got stuck once, the memory if which stopped me getting in lifts for about 20 years after. It was demolished and Aldi is now on the site.
The Co-op was an integral part of the North West. It was deemed quality – we got school uniform and shoes there, and the majority of our furniture was purchased there. It must have been a major employer in Eccles at that time. This was when Eccles was a lovely place to go shopping.