Coles Ipswich manager Ken Lothian holding Wednesday's edition of the QT at the official opening of the new store.
Coles Ipswich manager Ken Lothian holding Wednesday's edition of the QT at the official opening of the new store. Rob Williams

THE new Coles store opens today in Ipswich and it can't come soon enough for local traders.

The new supermarket opens its doors at 8am this morning and traders in the vicinity are expecting it to provide a big lift for their own businesses.

The previous Coles was flooded in 2011 but now it is back with a 6000 square metre store and employing more than 200 staff.

Coles Ipswich manager Ken Lothian, who has been with the company for 33 years, said he had most of the local traders on site on Tuesday for a tour of the store and the response was positive.

"They were over the moon about having us back at this end of town again," he said. "It will bring life back into Ipswich central.

"I ask people who come in what they thought the store was going to be like, and they all say it has exceeded their expectations.

"The mayor Paul Pisasale will open the store at 8am and we'll be ready to go.

"I've opened a few stores before and this one is fantastic. It is the first one of this size that I have been involved in. It is a new dimension in food retailing."

Ace Computer World is across the road from Coles and owner Noel Roberts said he couldn't wait for the opening.

"If Coles fills the beautiful undercover car park like they used to then we will see hundreds of extra people here in our business a week," he said.

"Trade dropped about 60 per cent when Coles left town so it will bring back a whole host of people.

Trade dropped about 60 per cent when Coles left town so it will bring back a whole host of people.

"We get customers that come to Coles from as far away as Warwick, Emerald and Beaudesert. We have good repeat business from local customers but the others are new customers and that is what gives us extra trade."

Ty Hodgkin, owner of Goodyear Autocare, said the opening would "be a great thing for local traders because it will bring a lot of people back to the heart of the city".

"There are a lot of customers that used to go there and now with the new one open it will bring them back, if not more," he said.

"They can get their tyres done over here and shop at the same time."

The Coles store under water in the 2011 floods and (right) the site after its demolition in November of the same year.
The Coles store under water in the 2011 floods and (right) the site after its demolition in November of the same year.

The flooding of Coles in 2011 was seen all around the world. Images that were relayed by broadcasters kept showing the state the building was in to showcase what the CBD went through at that time.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale said the opening of new superstore would see Ipswich celebrate "one of the best days" in many a year.

"We've lived through the 2011 and 2013 floods so for the CBD to have this superstore opening is absolutely fantastic.

"It means jobs and economic wealth for the city and it also brings a sense of life and vibrancy to the CBD after being closed for two years.

"This new Coles is flood-proof and is one of the largest stores in Australia. They have built a fantastic, quality product that is a world leader."

This new Coles is flood-proof and is one of the largest stores in Australia. They have built a fantastic, quality product that is a world leader.

The Coles Ipswich store will stock over 23000 lines of grocery, daily and frozen food. Fresh produce is 96% Australian grown and sourced from local growers including Rugby Farms in Gatton and further afield from the Lee family in Roma.

The new "market street" features in house butchers and there will be an in-store seafood specialist offering information and cooking tips on over 115 varieties of fish and fresh fillets.

The store has a traditional deli, a self-service olive bar, a selection of antipastos and a cheese shop. The car park has 288 spaces for vehicles, an additional 120 parks compared to the previous store.

GEARING UP: A Coles worker stacks the shelves at the new Ipswich superstore ahead of today’s grand opening.
GEARING UP: A Coles worker stacks the shelves at the new Ipswich superstore ahead of today’s grand opening. Claudia Baxter


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