Hundreds of shoppers queued up around the car park to grab a bargain at Birmingham’s new ‘half price’ supermarket on opening day.
Company Shop South Yardley opened its doors at the old Somerfield site in Coventry Road this week revealing aisles stocked full with discounted products from the likes of M&S, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
The members-only supermarket buys surplus products from the big name supermarkets which otherwise would have gone to landfill and resells them for an average 50 per cent off the original price.
Ahead of the grand opening, a group of NHS workers were invited into the store for a Supermarket Sweep-style ‘trolley dash’, armed with a shopping list of products to find within three minutes.
Tasked with guessing the overall price of the haul at the till, both teams thought the goods would tally up to over £30 when, in fact, both trolley-fulls were worth under £20.
Speaking to BirminghamLive, retired hospital worker Mary Lane, 62, said: “I think it’s absolutely excellent. I just wish this had been here during the lockdowns.
“A lot of the NHS staff and emergency services don’t finish until 8pm and by then, the shelves were empty.
“I was amazed when they told me the price [of the shopping]. I’ll definitely be coming here again – I’m planning on coming back tomorrow.”
Carers, Armed Forces, charity workers and families on means-tested benefits are also among the groups that qualify for a Company Shop membership. Find out more about who can apply and how to sign up here.
Neelam Dhansey, 29, from Great Barr, was among the first customers through the doors on opening day and is one of over 8,000 people to sign up for a membership card to date.
The ITU nursing associate said: “I think that the whole idea of it is amazing. The fact you’ve got loads of brands under one roof in one place and there’s less going to waste, so it’s so sustainable.
“You’ve got everything that you need and you’re being responsible with your shopping too.
“There’s so much to look at because they’re from different shops, you think ‘ooh this is from M&S, this is from Sainsbury’s’. It’s quite impressive actually.
“Normally I’m an Asda shopper, but I think this is brilliant. There’s everything you need so I don’t see a reason to go anywhere else now.
“It’s so easy to get carried away and spend so much money but I think I can save a lot here.”
BrumWish 2021 aims to get thousands of Christmas gifts to young children in need across our city – the homeless, the vulnerable, kids in care and kids who have little.
This year’s appeal is bigger and better than ever – because we have teamed up with our partners at #Toys4Birmingham, including Thrive Together Birmingham, the Birmingham Playcare Network, the Edgbaston Foundation and Birmingham Forward Steps.
Also involved are Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s, Spurgeon’s children’s charity, the Springfield project in Sparkhill, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Your Local Pantry, which runs food hubs in 12 locations across Birmingham and the Black Country.
You can buy a gift from the #Brumwish Amazon Wishlist here.
Or you can collect and drop off donations of new and nearly new toys and gifts to special donation days at Edgbaston Stadium, B5 7QU, on Saturday November 27, Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4, from 11am to 3pm, where volunteers will be waiting to see you.
Brand new or nearly new, unwrapped gifts, books and toys for all ages will be accepted.
You can also donate cash, which will go into a fund held by a charity partner to use to plug gaps or buy specialist toys for children with additional needs. This is the link to make a donation.
Explaining where Company Shop’s stock comes from, Dave Buttress, regional manager, said: “Our existence is purely because of surplus, so rather than going into landfill, we take it from suppliers and sell it through to our members at a reduced price.
“There’s a variety of reasons – sometimes it’s a labelling issue so it might be an ingredients problem or a weight issue and because of how [supermarkets’] systems work, it’s way too expensive for them to put it back through their system, so we take their problems of them, but before that it would have all gone into landfill so we’re able to save that.”
He added: “The stock varies hour to hour as we’ll get express deliveries all the time. We work with all the major retailers.
“One day you’ll come in and can get a selection of products and other days, that wont be there, but you’ll be able to get something else.
“So you can’t bank your whole shop on it, but you can get some fantastic products for a really cheap price.”
Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Muhammad Afzal, took a tour of the new store after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
He said: “Company Shop is a fantastic addition to the community here in Yardley, offering great products at affordable prices while also helping to address the issues of food waste in the area.
“It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves shopping here today, and I wish the Company Shop team and their customers every success.”
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