Co-op staff make the move from East Princes Street to Guildford Square

The new Co-op store on Guildford Square opened last Thursday.
The new Co-op store on Guildford Square opened last Thursday.

Last week saw the opening of Rothesay’s newest supermarket, as a Co-operative store opened its doors on Guildford Square to replace the old one on East Princes Street.

All 10 of the staff from the smaller store made the move to Guildford Square, and another seven were also hired to accommodate the new instore baking and hot food departments.

The store unit the new Co-op occupies was originally leased by Tesco and was intended to house a Tesco Express, but the company shelved the plans in 2015.

And Malcolm Brown, the store manager of the East Princes St premises, suggested the empty space would be the ideal home for an expanded Co-op.

The plans were greenlit before Christmas last year, and since then contractors have been working to fit the store out to be ready for the opening on Thursday, June 15.

Thursday’s opening was marked with performances from a local piper, as well as tastings of various products and tours for children from Rothesay Primary School and the Appletree Nursery.

The new shop is 4500sq ft, compared to the East Princes St’s 1500sq ft.

Malcolm grew up in Rothesay, and worked at the East Princes St store for 16 years before taking over at Guildford Square.

He told the Buteman about his feelings on moving: “It was bittersweet really, I spent so much time in that store working my way up from being a store assistant.

“Since I started there I’ve had two kids and got married, it’s been a big part of my life.

“It felt strange locking the old store up for good on the Wednesday, then coming in here on the Thursday.

“But it’s definitely an improvement, the store is three times as big as the old one and there’s more we can do now like the instore baking.

“Feedback has been good so far, people have been saying the shop looks like something out of Central Square!

“We’re hoping that the self-serve card tills will make people’s shopping a bit handier once they get used to it.”

Co-op management have submitted an application to Argyll and Bute Council about the possibility of converting seven or eight of the pay and display parking spaces in Guildford Square to free spaces for use by customers, and are awaiting a response.

The new store is open from 7am to 10pm seven days a week.