UP CLOSE IN BARRY with Co-op's store manager Zoe Selby

Barry Nub News aims to support our community, promoting shops, businesses, charities, clubs and sports groups. We will be profiling some of these businesses and organisations regularly in a feature called 'Up Close in Barry’.

Today, we’re chatting to Zoe Selby, store manager of Barry’s Colcot Road Co-op Branch.

Co-op’s store managers not only ensure the smooth and successful running of your local branch, but connect with the surrounding community and give back to those in need.

For Zoe, her Co-op journey began in 2008, when she decided not to return to studying business management at university after a gap year and her grandfather’s passing. She became a Co-op team member and has never looked back.

“I just never found the right time to go back, so I progressed my career in retail instead,” Zoe told Nub News.

“To be honest, that's where my real passion for doing things in the community came about. The fact that Co-op have always been a good business for encouraging that as part of your work, it was a win-win.”

Zoe has now worked as a store manager for four years, but she climbed the ranks and worked every job along the way to get there, from team member to leader, then manager, feeling it was the right life path.

“I didn't want to progress any other way. I do feel like it gives me good insights, because I can relate to every level from there to now,” she said.

“Actually, I ended up meeting my husband because of those decisions. I was his team manager for a little while. That's how we met and if I'd gone back to university, we probably wouldn't have met.

“Funnily enough, my sister and her husband and my mum all have roles with the Co-op too!”

Far more than just a family affair, the collective and community spirit is Zoe’s favourite part of the job. Even during the height of the pandemic, the Colcot Road store continued to fundraise by creating a ticketless raffle.

“We had a big grid behind the till and we wrote down people’s names and number of entries. That way there was no passing of tickets or pens and we managed to keep fundraising for Mind, one of our national charity partners. We’re working together to help improve mental wellbeing” explained Zoe.

“Then Co-op members are also able to support three local causes through the Local Community Fund, which are currently Barry Round Table, Bro Radio and Tenovus Cancer Care Community Choir.

“A colleague and I helped Barry Round Table deliver the meals on wheels Christmas dinner last year, which they did in place of the usual sit-down dinner event because of the restrictions.

“It was really lovely to go out and deliver food to people around Barry who were elderly and had been isolated because of the pandemic.

“Many of them hadn’t seen anybody in quite some time, so we spent a long while just talking with them.

“I love going out in the community and meeting people,” she said.

In order to reduce food waste, the Colcot Road branch has connected with Big Bocs Bwyd, which allows families to pay what they can afford for food and household products.

The Barry Co-op team also regularly delivers food that would otherwise be thrown away to the International Tortoise Sanctuary in Sully.

But the fundraising efforts residents are most likely to be familiar with are the team’s legendary fancy dress occasions.

“That’s our forte,” said Zoe. “We always pick a theme and run with it. Recently we’ve done superheroes, Pokémon and Disney. In
fact, we’re planning a Frozen-themed Christmas event, which I’m really excited about.”

Community is an important part of Zoe’s life, both in and out of work. She often spends her free time volunteering or taking on challenges, which can be found on her Facebook page ‘Zoe’s Charity Challenges’.

“I’m always doing things to raise money where I can,” she said.

“When I turned 30, I completed 30 different challenges for charities and raised almost £9,000, including a bungee jump for example.

“My mum says I’ve been doing it since I was a child, so it’s just a value of mine, I think. It’s built into who I am, and it’s a perfect fit with the Co-op.”

Co-op membership helps support your local community, with great rewards for you too. When you buy selected Co-op branded products and services, 2p for every pound spent goes to you and we’ll give the same to local communities. Join us today online at www.coop.co.uk/membership or in-store.

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