Filco Supermarkets began life in 1946, when husband and wife team, Philip and Eleanor Jones opened their first grocery store on Wine Street in Llantwit Major. What a different world it was back then! Rationing and coupon books were an everyday fact of life. After World War II, the Joneses saw an opportunity to offer a local ‘one stop shop’ for the local community. They knew that the local grocer was an integral part of the community, something we continue to recognise today.
The company changed its name to Philip Jones Foodmarkets, trading under the Spar banner and the family moved their business and residence to Boverton Road in Llantwit Major. The new Llantwit store caused something of a stir when it opened because it was one of the first in South Wales to offer self-service. The move heralded a new era for the company. Out went delivery and in came a more modern recognisable approach to shopping. Not quite the convenience store of today, but a far cry from the ‘over the counter’ grocery store of the 1940s and 50s. Over the years, our Boverton Road store has been extended five times. In 1968, we opened a second shop in Cowbridge.
In this decade, Philip Jones Foodmarkets leave Spar and instead join buying group, NISA (National Independent Supermarket Association). This was a big step forward for the growing firm. Spar was becoming synonymous at the time with small corner shops and Philip Jones felt he had outgrown this concept and the NISA buying group was more suited to the growth Philip Jones envisaged. Three more stores opened throughout the 1970s - Bryntirion in 1970, North Cornelly in 1973, and Talbot Green in 1979, taking the total number of stores to five. A new fruit and vegetable business was set up to compete with traditional greengrocers.
This decade saw the company continue to expand, with a brand new 8,500 sq ft depot on the Waterton Industrial Estate in Bridgend. We also opened a brand new store in Sarn, on the outskirts of Bridgend in 1982, as well as an extension to the North Cornelly store.
The decade began strongly with the opening of a new store in Caerau in 1990. In 1997, Filco’s original founder, Philip Jones passed away. Co-founder, Eleanor Jones was keen to see the company kept in the family and so handed over the day-to-day management to her daughter and son in law, Elizabeth Hunt and Ian Hunt. Expansion of the company continued with a new store opening in Taibach in 1998. Around this same time, the company officially rebranded to became ‘Filco Supermarkets’, but continued to operate under the umbrella of the NISA buying group. Just in time for Millennium celebrations, a new low price off licence called ‘Rock Bottom’ was launched.
To mark our sixtieth year, a new generation of the family joined the management team. Brothers, Simon Hunt and Matthew Hunt joined as directors with new ideas and enthusiasm to compete more effectively in the new century.
During the middle of 2011, a multi-million pound investment in our head office and flagship store in Llantwit Major took place. The completely new store concept takes convenience to a new level, with more space, new products and a fresh new look for customers. November 2019 saw the reopening of our Bryntirion store, following a devastating fire. The revamped store offers an in-store butchery and deli, which are stocked from local suppliers. To mark the opening of the store, Filco donated £10,000 to local schools, charities and good causes through Nisa’s Make a Difference Locally (MADL) initiative. Our latest addition for the convenience of our shoppers is the introduction of the Snappy Shopper app in selected stores with delivery available within 60 minutes.