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    Southern Co-op’s Welcome becomes only c-store chain to join two franchise bodies

    Welcome - Faversham Kent

    Southern Co-op said its franchise division has recently joined the Quality Franchise Association (QFA), becoming the only convenience store chain to join two national franchise bodies.

    The regional co-operative is also the only convenience store chain that is a full member of the British Franchise Association (bfa), after completing a robust accreditation process in 2020. Both bodies are not for profit, trade associations which work with their partners to promote ethical franchising.

    “We are delighted to welcome Southern Co-op into full membership. They provide such a valuable service to local communities and have gone above and beyond throughout the pandemic,” commented Joel Bissitt, chief executive at QFA.

    “Their values including that of community are very much aligned with ours and we look forward to working with the team in the coming years.”

    Pip Wilkins, chief executive of the bfa, added: “Full Membership of the bfa recognises a franchisors commitment to, and value of, ethical franchising practices. Southern Co-op has undergone rigorous checks against an extensive set of criteria to become a member and is testament to their unwavering commitment to best practice and their long-term investment in ethical franchising.”

    The retailer, which kicked off 2021 with the opening of its 50th franchise store under the Welcome fascia, currently partners with 24 franchisees that operate 51 stores from Devon to Kent and into central London.

    Mike Fitton​, franchise business manager at Southern Co-op, said: “Every person who is part of our franchise family is passionate about what they do and it shows. Our franchisees enjoy giving back to their local communities.

    “By developing strong partnerships within our Welcome family, our stores and teams have gone from strength to strength with positive like for like increases across all departments. We are all looking forward to the future as convenience stores continue to be relied on locally.”

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