160 YEARS OF HISTORY
THE Co-operative has been at the forefront of shopping in Derby for more than 160 years – and its Exchange Street store has been operating since the late-1930s.
The Derby Co-operative Society was established in 1850 by members of the Union of Carpenters and Joiners on a budget of just £2. At the time, it was only the third Co-operative in the country to be formed.
The group set up a store in a hayloft in George Yard, off Sadler Gate, later moving to a second hayloft in Full Street.
By 1860, there were 40 Co-op members and five shops.
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In 1874, the Derby Society built new premises in Albert Street and, about 60 years later, the art deco-style Co-op store opened in Exchange Street, where it remains today.
Derby people supported the Co-op in their thousands, attracted not only by the quality of its stores but the dividend scheme, which returned its profits to locals every quarter.
Long queues would form in Albion Street and East Street on payout day. Today, the Co-op has a range of businesses.
As well as fashion and home, the company operates in food retailing and motors. Midlands Co-op Funeral Services operates about 80 funeral homes.