Redevelopment welcomed

EXCITED: Magda Mostarac and Chris Dahms, at the official opening of the new shopping centre, called it a “credit to everyone involved”.The grocery wars stepped up a notch as locals lined up for the long-awaited opening of the $14 million Cranebrook Shopping Village redevelopment this week.

With Aldi displaying its December 7 opening date on the sign outside the centre, Woolworths slipped in to welcomecustomers to its store the night before, cutting a cake, holding a barbie and handing out carnationsand $20 gift vouchers to early-bird customers.

The car park was almost full before 8am on December 7, as locals checked out the new centre, which includes both supermarket giants, a doctor’s surgery, chemist, sushi bar, BWS and other specialty shops.

Customers lined up outside the new Aldi, with Santa paying a visit to hand out lollies and store manager Justin Vella on hand to cut the red ribbon and declare the shop open.

“I grew up in the area and I’m 10 minutes from home here, so I know the clientele,” he told the Gazette.

​”The customers I have spoken to so far couldn’t wait for the centre to open. I’ve got people coming [here to shop] from my old store at Blacktown.”

Ho ho ho: Aldi store manager Justin Vella with Santa in store. Santas handed out lollies to children on the opening day.

An Aldi statement said its new store would besupported by a team of between 15 and 20 permanent full and part-time employees, providing career opportunities in the local community.

The centre’s redevelopment has not been without controversy, as small business owners were last year forced to vacate the premises and locals were concerned about services closing down.

But the new centre got a big tick of approval from many residents, including long-time locals Magda Mostarac and Chris Dahms.

The two became firm friends when they moved into the area more than 35 years ago, when Cranebrook was just a series of paddocks and there were only about five other houses in the area.

“We had to wait seven years for the original complex, and this has been about eight or nine months in the making, but it’s just unbelieveable,” Ms Dahms said.

“It’s just incredible, it’s a credit to everybody involved.

“I never had a car so for me to be able to walk up the street to the shops is unbelieveable.

“I am thrilled to bits.”

Ms Mostarac agreed, saying it was worth the wait “but we didn’t really want to wait this long”.

“I have waited long enough, this is so unreal to have such a big centre,” she said.

“What’s lovely about these shops is that everything is on your [eye] level and all in the one place. There is no need to move away or go anywhere, it’s like a little city.

“It’s better than going into Penrith, because you can never find parking to begin with there.

“It’s like any shops you will find in the city.”

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: Aldi’s first customer enters the new Cranebrook Shopping Village store.

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