NEW DIGS: Drew Ninnes, Andrea Jones and store manager Megan Kemmerling at the bigger Amart Sports store that is now inside the Redbank Plaza Shopping Centre.
NEW DIGS: Drew Ninnes, Andrea Jones and store manager Megan Kemmerling at the bigger Amart Sports store that is now inside the Redbank Plaza Shopping Centre. Rob Williams

Focus of Plaza makeover is on services and entertainment

THE Redbank Plaza shopping centre has undergone significant changes and makeovers to ensure the centre remains valid in a changing market and tougher economic climate.

The past two years have seen the "plaza" undergo major changes level by level. It remains a strong shopping destination in the Ipswich region.

Marketing manager Yasmin Chrzescijanski has been providing support and guidance to the retailers as the changes, level by level, take place.

The most recent was finalised in the past week. "We started with the level one upgrade with the development of Coles, level two saw the removal of Target and the arrival of Big W and on level three the liquidation of Sam's Warehouse opened up the space for long-time tenant Amart Sports to increase its business," she said.

Amart Sports is a leading retailer of sporting and leisure equipment, apparel and footwear in Australia. The new store area means the store can now offer a complete bicycle section.

"It is a new concept for the store and the business," Ms Chrzescijanski said.

"What it means is a customer can buy a bike and have it serviced right here.

"A mechanic is on site and covers all levels of bikes.

"It is a really exciting development." Level three will welcome Ice Design, expected to be opened late this year. It is a leading fashion outlet in women's fashion across Australia. According to Ice Design, the latest fashion is in store as soon as it can be purchased and it stocks a dynamic range including clubwear, urban, evening wear and heaps of accessories.

Ms Chrzescijanski is mindful of the increase in the number of families in the area and with that growth comes young children and teenagers.

There is a significant number of people, from newborns to 14-year-olds coming to the centre. "New families are moving into the area, it is affordable housing so the great Australian dream of home ownership can potentially be realised in the area," Ms Chrzescijanski said.

"We have a strong base of loyal customers, some have been with us over many years." Next year Redbank Plaza will celebrate 30 years of operation.

"It is one of the oldest and most established shopping centres in the region," Ms Chrzescijanski said.

"We see many familiar faces who access the shopping centre on a regular basis."

Redbank Plaza is home to Reading Cinemas.

The price of tickets to see a movie has been reduced in recent times and this has helped more families to come along to see the latest releases.

The centre continues to plan to cater for families in the region.

"We are upgrading parent's rooms right now and I think they are amongst the best in the area, but the parents using the facilities can be the best judge of how good it is," Ms Chrzescijanski said.

Redbank Plaza is providing different activities each Tuesday and Thursday for younger children free of charge.

It also has the Redbank Plaza's Very Important Kids with new offers every month. Membership costs a gold coin donation.

The membership offers a wallet and membership card with more than $50 worth of freebies for members, including a free Santa photo and a free movie during their birthday month.

All funds raised go to the Ipswich Hospital Foundation to support the Sunshine Children's Ward. 'The centre has direct access to the Ipswich City bikeway and walking path. It has been built in line with the new Ipswich Motorway.

It is a popular way of getting some exercise and dropping into the centre. Redbank Plaza is part of the largest management group for shopping centres in south-east Queensland.

Retail First is taking care of 19 centres in this area and each centre is owned by YFG.

Trading hours for the Redbank Plaza are Monday to Friday, 9am-5.30pm and Thursday to 9pm. Saturday the centre is open 9am-4pm and Sunday is 10am-3pm.

Major tenants are also able to trade outside these times.

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