First look: Inside Mann Central’s Coles and Kmart

The shelves are stocked, the ovens are warming and the staff are itching to go ahead of Mann Central’s Coles and Kmart grand openings on Wednesday. 

Coles Fresh Trading Manager Brett Wells said staff can’t wait for customers to see the new store.

“It’s going to be amazing,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of new concepts – nothing like it has been seen in this region before.”

The new store features a deli section, with olive bar, tasting stations, scooped self-serve nuts and a flat-bread baking section. 

Shoppers will be able to watch not only their baked-goods and flat-bread being made but also butchers and deli staff at work.

From artist impressions to reality - click the image to take a look at the development of Mann Central in our Flashback gallery.

From artist impressions to reality - click the image to take a look at the development of Mann Central in our Flashback gallery.

“It’s all set up as destination shopping,” Mr Wells said.

“You have one place for all your seafood, one for all cheeses, one for small goods.

“Our big show pieces is our in-house flat bread bakery section, where you can see it being made fresh and where bakers prepare dough. 

“It’s all on show so customers can see our processes.”

Mr Wells said 108 staff transferred from the old High Street store, and 32 new staff were hired. 

He said Coles online will operate out of the store from November.

As well as the grand opening the store will host a “family weekend”, with fruit performers playing instruments and tastings throughout the store. 

“It’s different to anything we have in the region,” Mr Wells said.

“About half the store is the fresh department.”

The centre has 800 underground carparks and a community barbecue.

Kmart store manager Catherine Alexander said it was a very exciting time for the 140 new staff members and 10 who transferred from surrounding stores. 

“It’s very exciting when a new business offers jobs in the region,” she said.

“There’s a real buzz of excitement around town, when you’re in uniform down the street lots of people talk to you.”

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The new Kmart store opens on Wednesday with a ceremony at 7.30am before the doors are flung open to customers at 8am. 

The first 250 people to make purchases will receive a gift bag and cupcake, with face painting and a balloon artist visiting on Thursday. 

Ms Alexander, who transferred from Kmart Albury and has been with the company for 30 years, said the new format store was colourful, exciting and spilt into three ‘worlds’, for clothing, homewares and children. 

“We’ve been receiving 66 pallets of stock at day for ten days,” she said.

“It’s been very busy and exciting so we’re excited for everyone to come have a look.”