One of the city's most anticipated supermarket overhauls is shaping up to be a key driver in a suburban rejuvenation starting to unfold in the city's south.
Coles Sebastopol has more than doubled in size and will open on Friday morning with a string of on-trend in-store features, some unseen in Ballarat. Room for a far greater stock range will feature regular specials up to gourmet and high-end offerings - including an $850 bottle of Penfolds Grange in the bottle shop alongside popular labels from across the region.
The Sebastopol community has been battling major changes to its traditional shopping strip with bank closures and the Australia Post office shifting to meet growth at Delacombe Town Centre - all amid lengthy, major road works.
But there is a sense of rejuvenation with the likes of Mia and Talbot popping up with a pink door on Albert Street. The boutique store owner Leah Haynes, best known for her handmade candles and hampers, told The Courier in April her decision to take the plunge into a shopfront felt like the "right spot" in Sebastopol.
A rise in destination shopping and more people moving into the area was creating a shift in the subway, which also sits as a key gateway to Ballarat for the region.
Coles Sebastopol has expanded from five to 13 aisles with extra space for fresh produce, a wider gourmet cheese selection, larger freezer and refrigerator bays, an open-front bakery with Coles' artisan range and more choice in ready-made meals.
The Courier had a sneak peek inside on Wednesday and found a frozen dessert bar with Japanese treat mochi, macarons and with mini-gelato on the way for summer. A dessert bar, while new to Ballarat, is already a popular feature in regional Coles such as Horsham.
To treat furrier family members, there is a Scoop 'n Weight for pet treats.
Tapping into self-service, customers can squeeze their own orange juice and slice their own bread - should they wish - as well as check-out in specially designed trolley counters.
There is also a Best Buys bay, that will be stocked similarly to supermarket rival Aldi's fast-moving household and outdoor goods specials.
The significantly larger range of stock offerings will also benefit home delivery customers across the city, as the Coles delivery depot is based at the Sebastopol store.
Coles Sebastopol manager Sharon Germon, who has worked in Ballarat Coles stores for 35 years, said the new supermarket was great for serving and bringing customers into the Sebastopol community.
Coles team members officially moved into the site on May 9 and have been stocking grocery shelves for more than three weeks, working to a tightly orchestrated plan to be ready. Every product has been thoroughly checked and re-checked to ensure labelling was all facing the right way and stacked perfectly for the moment the doors opened.
Ms Germon said it was a privilege to lead a store opening and said it was a rare, and likely only chance, to see a store detailed perfectly.
The store will create 100 new jobs for the community alongside experienced team members, such as Ms Germon, Marg McCaw (33 years) Peter Smith (29 years) and Toni Ashmore (28 years). Coles has also employed 16 Indigenous team members, adding to 14 Indigenous team members in the Ballarat and Wendouree supermarkets.
A mural designed by Wadawurrung artist Billy-Jay O'Toole on the supermarket's front windows will depict Wadawurrung storylines and landscapes.
"We can start to appreciated the land which we're built on - and that's something we relay to the team as well," Ms Germon said.
Liquorland manager Lexie Smith said local was a strong focus in an expanded beverage stock. Ms Smith said Red Duck beer, Hepburn Springs Brewing mixed drinks, Ballan's Fat Pixie ciders, a whole bay of Grampians wine labels and a focus on Victorian-made gin was about showcasing and supporting the region.
In spirits alone, the Sebastopol store has more than tripled labels.
To celebrate the opening, Coles Sebastopol is donating $1000 to SecondBite via the Salvation Army in Ballarat to donate surplus food to disadvantaged community members. Coles will also donate $5000 to Sebastopol Primary School's Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation program.
The store will officially open on Friday at 9am and be open daily, 6am to 10pm.
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