Woolworths Centro temporary closure - it's all for the better

WOOLWORTHS supermarket at Centro Toormina closed its doors at 6pm yesterday.

The doors will reopen in March 2008, when shoppers will return to a Woolworth's supermarket which will be twice the size, as part of a multi-million refurbishment and expansion of the Centro Toormina Shopping Centre which began last week.

Woolworths' area manager Barrie Wilson said all the store's 70 staff members were moving to other jobs within Woolworths while the building project was under way and about 50 new staff would be needed when the store reopened.

Woolworths Toormina store manager, Allan Watson, said most of his staff would be working at Woolworths Park Beach Plaza and Park Avenue supermarkets and the extra help would be appreciated over Christmas.

He said several would be working at Nambucca Heads; several were going to Armidale to help open a new Woolworths supermarket there and several were transferring to jobs in Sydney and Brisbane stores.

Mr Wilson, who was 'lending moral support' at Toormina yesterday, said there had always been an emotional attachment to the Toormina store, which was opened 20 years ago in the new Toormina Gardens shopping centre as a Cox Bros store, one of three supermarkets owned by Coffs Harbour's Cox family.

It became part of Woolworths in 1996, but some staff members and some shoppers have been chatting at the checkout for 20 years.

"It's always a dreadful thing to close a store, but it will be a really exciting when we get the new store open," he said.

Checking out last-minute bargains yesterday was Toormina's Diane Schneider, who has been shopping at the supermarket since it was Cox Bros.

She said it was 'a weird feeling' to walk in and see the store so bare and open and she would miss it while it was closed.

"I think Coles (Toormina) could become very, very crowded, especially over Christmas," Ms Schneider said.

Former Sydneysider Wendy Willis joined the staff at Woolworths Toormina 12 months ago.

Today she is headed for Woolworths' Park Avenue supermarket but is looking forward to returning to Toormina in March.

"The new supermarket will be brilliant," she said.

A number of new specialist shops are also due to open in the enlarged Centro Toormina in March, with a new carpark in July 2008, while a new entry to the car park near Bangalee Crescent and new traffic lights are due to open in July 2008.

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