Retail giant opens amid fears

MACKSVILLE retailers won’t have long to wait to find out if their fears about the impact of a new Woolworths supermarket in the town will come to fruition.

The contentious development finally opened its doors yesterday, a little over a year after then Planning Minister and now Premier Kristina Keneally gave it the go-ahead.

The Nambucca Shire Council had given conditional approval in June 2008 amid protests from the community and Macksville CBD business operators that the arrival of the retailing giant would kill town centre trade.

Not surprisingly, yesterday’s opening was unheralded. Around 40 people queued for the doors to open.

The chain’s area manager Barry Wilson said the first day’s trading had been surprisingly strong.

“We didn’t aggressively market the opening of the new supermarket because of its proximity to the Nambucca Heads outlet but we are very happy with how it has been received,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ve been very busy all day.”

Mr Wilson said the supermarket centre, which includes five specialty shops, would prove a major economic shot in the arm for the area.

“We have 85 people on the roster already and 60 of those are from the Nambucca Shire. The rest of the staff have been sourced from the coast between Coffs Harbour and Kempsey.”

At the time of approval, the supermarket complex was expected to cost $7.4 million.



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