One of Creswick’s landmark hotels that has lain derelict for decades has been undergoing a quiet revolution, but not in the way most people may have known it.
The British Hotel will serve as a temporary home as a supermarket for the Creswick community while the current Foodworks in Albert Street relocates across the road.
It was previously thought that Creswick would soon have a second supermarket, but it can now be revealed that the town will continue to have just one, only it will be bigger and better than ever before.
Steve Sellars, who has owned Creswick Foodworks for 15 years, said the idea of a second supermarket had long been on the cards.
“For years there was a sign on the site that said an IGA would be coming soon. We kept improving our store, spending $400,000 on upgrades at one time.”
But he knew it was inevitable a new grocery store would pop up across the road. With his lease set to end in November, he was faced with a couple of options.
“We couldn’t re-sign knowing a new store would appear across the road. We wouldn’t be able to afford the rent with the competition,” he said. “So I found out who the landlord was (across the road) and we eventually came to an agreement that he would build the store and I would be the tenant.”
Mr Sellars said the only problem was the purpose-built supermarket would not be ready to open for business when his current lease ends.
“My lease is up on November 11 but the new store won’t be ready by February next year,” he said.
Rather than leave residents without a place to shop for groceries locally, Mr Sellars will set up a pop-up shop on the first floor of the British Hotel. The pop-up shop will include fresh produce, a range of canned and packaged goods, dairy and liquor.
“In the back we will have a portable freezer and dairy cool room in containers. We will also have a grocery container. We won’t have an ideal space for a few months, but we will survive,” he said.
The only thing it won’t include will be a deli but he is looking at the possibility of a food van to continue to sell roast chickens.
He anticipates the opening of the bigger store, which is double the size of his current building, will create four or five new full time positions.
He has not yet decided on whether it will be an IGA or a Foodworks, but said he would continue to source stock from a variety of local producers.