TILLS rang, scanners beeped and the sound of credit cards swiping filled the air at Toormina yesterday, as thousands of people swamped Centro Toormina at its long-awaited grand opening.
Close to a thousand people queued outside the doors from as early as 5.30am, all eagerly anticipating the 7am opening.
The ribbon was cut by Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades, and it wasn't long after shoppers were unleashed upon the new stores that K Mart emerged as the obvious favourite with shoppers.
Many bustled into the store, keen to catch a bargain, some sat outside merely watching the crowd, but the store was so busy that at times, the line to be served at the counter had a waiting time of more than an hour and a half.
But the hustle and bustle was no surprise to shoppers, especially Sawtell local Jodie Burns, who took a rostered day off so she could come down and check the new stores out.
“It's great; we don't have to go into Coffs anymore. I didn't come to buy anything today, just to have a look around - it's really impressive,” she said.
“And it creates a lot of jobs in the area, too - it's good for Toormina, we've finally grown up.” Toormina local Alison Szabo agreed with Jodie and said yesterday was an exciting day.
“I came to go to Coles - it's great we don't have to go into Coffs anymore, although I was a bit disappointed I couldn't get my favourite parking spot.”
And it wasn't just locals enjoying the newest addition to the shopping experience in town. Carolyn Cleversley made the trip from Bowraville to see what all the fuss was about.
“I hardly ever come here - last time I came was about six months ago. I think it's great, I'll be shopping here more often - there's a lot more variety and its closer to me than Coffs.”