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Tennant Creek supermarket re-opens in style

[by Tara Toohill]

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 Image: supplied

Tennant Creek celebrate the grand opening of its new IGA supermarket on 16 March after an extensive reconstruction and fit-out of the old site.

The celebrations include a Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony, ribbon cutting, and a free afternoon tea with a local band and activities for kids.

The original supermarket was destroyed by arson in July 2020, along with three adjoining tenancies. A temporary site was established to maintain a constant supply of food for the local community.

Chair of Julalikari Aboriginal Corporation Linda Turner said the reopening of the store was an exciting day and a long-awaited one for the Corporation, which is a 50 per cent owner of the IGA.

“This building, this business and the services and goods to be provided, represents our future as a town,” she said.

“Long ago, Julalikari Council decided to look for commercial investments that provide sustainable economic growth and career development for our people,” she said.

“I thank the staff for their efforts in establishing the temporary supermarket, adjusting to the needs of our community, the difficulties in COVID management and sticking with us to get to this day.”

The supermarket and buildings are owned by Julalikari Council Aboriginal Corporation (Julalikari) and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), who are each 50 per cent shareholders. The IGA supermarket is operated by IBA subsidiary, IBA Retail Asset Management (IRAM).

IRAM was able to operate a temporary store co-located with the town’s BP Service Station since both facilities are owned in partnership by Julalikari and IBA.

IRAM CEO John Kop noted the reconstruction project overcame several challenges along the way, particularly COVID-19 travel restrictions, supply issues in the building industry and then floods.

“With the help of our owners, the Julalikari and IBA partnership, we have invested in substantial upgrades to the supermarket over the past year,” said Mr Kop.

“The reconstruction project gave us a chance to modernise the store lay out and facilities, so we’re excited that doors are finally opened,” Mr Kop said.

“Keeping food security for community and constant communication was our top priority through the reconstruction,” said IBA’s Executive Director, Government and Public Relations, Sean Armistead.

“The grand opening provides an opportunity to thank the community for its patience over the past 20 months and showcase the improvements of the new store.”

“Partnerships with local Aboriginal corporations like Julalikari are part of IBA’s commitment to deliver beneficial economic outcomes for local communities, particularly in regional and remote locations.”

The rebuilt store was completed by Alice Springs-based Asbuild, with several local businesses providing security, plumbing, painting and electrical services.

The Julalikari and IBC Partnership Board thanked the IRAM staff and suppliers for their contribution to the successful rebuild.

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