Like most of my neighbours, I walk past my unremarkable local independent c-store to shop in the Co-op at the heart of the village, next to a Tesco-operated One Stop.

The newsagent operates one of the largest home news delivery services in the country and does not compete.

Last month, the Co-op closed for a three-week refurbishment. To my surprise, the One Stop was not packed. People simply shopped elsewhere.

The reopening was a chance to see two things: how the Co-op’s marketing machine would go into overdrive and what changes its store architects had decided upon. Gone, of course, is the fresh green. Replaced by the distinctive Co-op “shamrock” and a trendy grey colour.

By post I received a nice marketing letter created from their membership database. But it did not seem to know that I was a loyalty card holder.

All it said was that I could get £2 off a ready meal and there were some symbols to tell me it had a larger range of ready meals, of fruit and veg, of fresh meat, of cheese, of beers, wines and spirits, and of bakery. In addition, it promoted its pizza range and new self-service checkouts.

The lessons seem to be that the Co-op has redesigned its shop to look like a well-stocked fridge where you can go to get something quick and interesting-looking to eat or drink

A second flier also arrived with £8-worth of money-off vouchers. The big reopening was planned for a Monday, so it was four days later before I got to visit.

While the store is more than 2,000sq ft in size, it has an awkward layout and a complex queuing system.

When you enter, there is a series of floor promotional displays, then fruit and veg on the left and bakery on the right behind a promotional bay, then a long corridor of ambient.

The new store has a smaller landing area (currently filled with Easter eggs) and the bakery has been replaced by chillers. It is fresh and chilled from front to back. The marketing is right. This is a place to buy ready meals. On both my visits, the pizza fridge was nearly empty.

The bakery is at the back and the ambient grocery has been squeezed. While there are three self-service tills at the front there is not enough room for shopping when the store is busy. And the staff are even less visible than before. The wooden floor looks classy, but will it last?

The Co-op has invested in retargeting on Facebook, so the local branch has popped up in my news feed and attracted 29 comments. One remarkable one is from a former classmate of my children who remarked: “Meeh alright”. Another neutral response was: “It’s now identical to Budgens in Emmer Green.” Which it is not.

Interestingly, another person was very disappointed that the Co-op had transferred the manager to another branch as he was a nice, local person with a young family and was a key reason why they shopped there.

Overall, 12 people were positive, six were negative and 11 were neutral. The self-service tills attracted six comments, mostly of frustration.

The lessons seem to be that the Co-op has redesigned its shop to look like a well-stocked fridge where you can go to get something quick and interesting-looking to eat or drink.

That is certainly one future for convenience. But it might struggle against a good independent.