The Old Co-operative on Holbrook Road

Update 2022!

As of October 2022, Cocoon Vehicles has now moved to it’s brand new offices at 184 Derby Road, Denby, Derbyshire, DE5 8RD.

The landlord of The Old Co-operative did not make right the building which was riddled in damp, that we feel affected our health. Mold spores were growing on many of the walls and on top of this, the appearance of the mold did not look professional.

The owner of the building did not want to spend the money on putting this right, something that was part of signing the lease from day one of moving in. It is such a shame and Cocoon Vehicles itself invested a lot of money on the property to make it look appealing and professional.

In June 2022, the building was purchased by HSR Electrical Ltd in Belper from Stephen Nix for an undisclosed sum.

The Story

Cocoon Vehicles moved into “The Old Co-operative” on Holbrook Road, Belper in January 2018 after being in Derby for over 10 years. At over 90 years old the building has a few creeks but it holds many memories for many of the local residents in Belper.

The building itself was built in 1927 by Ripley PIS Co-operative Society, it ran quite a few local stores across the region and there are still quite a few similar buildings around.  We’re unsure of the dates of closing but we have had many locals come in and tell us their stories.

Plaque on the Old Co-operative in Belper

One particular person recalled his Mum ringing and ordering their groceries, as a boy it was his chore to collect the goods from our building. He described it to us as the forefront of internet food shopping, mail order groceries in the good old days.

A lady who visited our offices, recalled the counters in the long thin building with creaky wooden floor boards, the paper bags that the groceries were packed in and the smart workers in their long coats and aprons.

Rosemary Clarke (Facebook) said that she used to work in the Old Co-operative, when it was a Co-op shop. She used to bag sugar in blue bags and weigh butter up from one big slab of butter. She also used to go around the surrounding houses to collect money for peoples weekly orders. A guy called Doug Shore was the manager and 2 ladies called Christine Foukes and Margaret.

Wendy Hudson remembers going to the Co-op to get butter when it was sold loose. They would wrap it up on paper. That would have been the late sixties. Matkins off Licence was opposite next to the church.

Sandra Maycock remembers that pupils from Parks School would sometimes be sent to the Co-op to buy food for cookery lessons, this would have been the 1960’s.

Although we have searched through the archives, we can’t find any old photos of the building, yet there are many of St Swithun’s church, which is opposite us on Holbrook Road.

Old Co-operative Land Registry

Timeline of the Old Co-operative

Lester and Nix Trade Services of Belper

Transformation of the building

With the building still being owned by Steven Nix of Lester & Nix in Belper, the building was left in a bad state of repair by the previous tenant. The biggest problem in the building was damp. Mr Nix got to work before Cocoon moved in and re-wired the building, replaced the boiler and treated the damp.

The Chocolate Kabin Belper - Car Park
The Chocolate Kabin Belper - External Front

When Cocoon Vehicles received the keys, there was still a lot of work to be done. With a budget of £15,000 and the help of local  tradesmen, we got to work.

The Chocolate Kabin Belper - Inside Front
The Chocolate Kabin Belper - Fridges

Our first job was to decorate the whole building, we used Hugo Painting Contractors, who did a fantastic job of repairing and repainting the walls and fixtures in white. The building was extremely cold, so Hugo also supplied industrial heaters to stop the paint from dripping down the walls.

The Old Co-operateive- Hugo Painters Work
The Old Co-operative PDS Derby fitting Cat 5 Trunking

In between the painters we then used PDS (Derbyshire) Ltd to install Cat 6 cabling and additional electrical points in what was going to be the front office and meeting room, this included fitting specialist equipment ready for our servers to be installed.

PDS Derby Van parking in front of Old Co-operative
Bonnet of PDS Derby Van in front of Old Co-operative

Paradise Carpets of Ripley supplied and fitted carpets to the front office, meeting room, staff area and our archive room. This installation suddenly made the building feel much warmer and a nicer place to be.

Cocoon Vehicles Office with Ikea Desks

So that we didn’t disturb the old Derby office on Haydock Park Road, we utilised Ikea at Giltbrook for our desks and storage solutions for the front office, these were all built by Rhys & Rebecca Adams.

Phone lines were installed on the 12th February 2018 by Creative Filter Ltd, a sister company of High Heel Creative. Standard Fibre lines were installed bonded via a router and providing a 76mbs download. Overall, it felt much quicker than the old leased line that Haydock Park Road had.

Overall, we had two offices which we were moving into The Old Co-operative; Cocoon Vehicles Ltd from Haydock Park Road and High Heel Creative from Tim Godkin’s office suites on Bridge Street, Belper. We used Peak Removals to help us do the move, using their full packing and moving service.

A large part of the move was difficult due to the servers, upon the move many of the servers needed to be reconfigured to the new building and IP addresses. Changing these IP addresses can take up to 48 hours to update DNS servers around the world, so on Friday 23rd February 2018, the servers were powered down at Haydock Park Road and moved across to The Old Co-operative on Holbrook Road.

Fish and Chip Supper

With the back office becoming the storage area for the old office furniture, Cocoon offered some of the items for sale via Gumtree with people turning up thinking that we were actually an office furniture outlet.

By Monday 26th February 2018, Cocoon was officially open in the Old Co-operative on Holbrook Road in Belper, alongside High Heel Creative. Haydock Park Road’s lease was terminated on the 1st April 2018 and the High Heel Creative Bridge Street office terminated in June 2018.

Cocoon and Flexigo Signage up outside The Old Co-operative

By the 28th February 2018, the snow had hit Belper and the office was colder internally than externally, the boiler froze and although the temperatures were unbearable everyone was hard at work supplying short term car leases to the public.

New Cocoon Office waiting for workers

In November 2018, Cocoon Vehicles started renovating the back rooms, Cat 6 and electrical sockets were again installed by PDS (Derbyshire) Ltd and carpets supplied and fitted by Paradise Carpets of Ripley. Steve from Prestige Projects in Belper fit new doors and stand up office benches.

Further work in December was carried out by Robert Spencer of PDS (Derbyshire) Ltd and new eco radiators fitted. Car charging sockets have also been installed at the premises in preparation for the rise in plugin hybrid and electric vehicles.

Reasons for moving the Business to Belper

With former Director, Paul Stone retiring from the business in January 2018. Rebecca Adams, wife of founder Director Rhys Adams, purchased Paul’s shares. With an office and a successful business already in Belper with High Heel Creative and also living in Belper.

It made sense to merge the 2 offices (Derby and Belper) into one. The Old Co-operative in Belper became available but needed some investment.

Rebecca also runs a successful business networking group in Belper called Business Belper, its many small business owners in the area who meet, network and refer business. Its extremely successful and shows the passion that all Belper residents have towards this successful town, having won high street of the year in previous years.

It also saved time in traveling to the Derby office, usually a 2 hour round trip daily, which got worse due to the road changes to Brian Clough Way (A52) and the Wyvern Link roads.

We’d love to find out more about The Old Co-operative

Whilst the team at Cocoon Vehicles and High Heel Creative have trawled through the archives, we have so far been unable to find any further stories or photographs of the building. If you have any photographs, information or even personal stories, we’d love to hear from you. Complete the form below and we will get in touch.

Memories of The Old Co-operative on Facebook

Belper Directory Facebook Screenshots with memories of the Old Co-operative
Belper Directory Facebook Screenshots with memories of the Old Co-operative
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