TAKE A WALK THROUGH THE NEW PROVINCIAL HOME LIVING STORE BELOW | VIDEO
FACES have been peering into the windows of this dramatic shop transformation for almost a year - and more so the past week.
Provincial Home Living will open its doors early Friday morning, inviting customers into an experience with a cafe overlooking Sturt and Armstrong streets.
The prominent corner location, previously home to Collins Booksellers, is one the homewares business owners are confident will help revitalise shopping in central Ballarat.
Staff already say nearby retailers have remarked on the extra foot traffic and interest in their shops as the new Provincial site has taken shape.
Provincial Home Living head of merchandise Jane Horseman said the business had a good online presence but retail shops played a vital role.
"Homewares are still products people like to come and feel...We want to take customers on a journey they don't often know they're on," Ms Horseman said. "We want them to have a lovely experience in the store and people do want to touch the blankets or beds - that's all part of it."
We want to take customers on a journey they don't often know they're on.Jane Horseman, Provincial Home Living
Initial demolition work started on the site on April 12 last year. A sweeping wooden staircase forms the centre focus leading upstairs to the cafe and more showroom space.
Ballarat will become the second Provincial store to house a cafe. The couple running the Warrnambool Cafe at Provincial will also oversee the Ballarat cafe, opening 8am each morning with the store to capture before-work traffic.
Ms Horseman said the shop's exterior, featuring grass-green feel to the upper levels, was important to make an impression but also in adding vibrancy to the cityscape.
In a nod to history and the community, the new Provincial store in Ballarat will feature photos of previous site tenants George Crocker Drapery and Outfitters and what many would more commonly recognise as Collins.
Provincial Home Living is a family homewares business from Wangaratta with about 30 stores in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The former Ballarat site in Grenville Street opened in 2002. Ms Horseman said the business focus has predominantly been in regional towns.
"We you think provincial, people generally think French provincial but it could be Italian provincial or other countrysides," Ms Horseman said. "We like to 'cool' it up and make it a bit more modern. We think we've also achieved this in fitting out the Ballarat store."
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