CFO Ritchies IGA  Mal Cameron and George Altmann - representing owner Chumms Investment, with Ritchies IGA Queensland manager Peter Lee and council and building representatives help turn the first sod of dirt on the site for the Ritchies IGA site in Maclean.
CFO Ritchies IGA Mal Cameron and George Altmann - representing owner Chumms Investment, with Ritchies IGA Queensland manager Peter Lee and council and building representatives help turn the first sod of dirt on the site for the Ritchies IGA site in Maclean. Adam Hourigan

100 JOBS: Maclean's new supermarket digs in

BY THEIR own admission, it has been a long and arduous process for Ritchies IGA to put a shovel in the grass in Cameron Park, Maclean yesterday.

"We're very relieved to get to this stage. It's been about six years since Metcash first inquired and bought the land,” Ritchies IGA Queensland manager Peter Lee said.

"We picked a hard one, but we're in the home run.”

Mr Lee was joined by Ritchies chief financial officer Mal Cameron and representative of owners Chumm investment George Altmann to dig out the first piece of soil inside the now fenced off area of the Cameron Park carpark that will become Maclean's new supermarket.

Members of the public, council, building contractors and even Maclean's current supermarket operator Bob Little came down to witness the first signs of the new development.

"When you add in the land costs and a build cost which is in the millions - the fitout will be a $5m investment alone, so it's a multi-million development,” Mr Cameron said.

"It will be a full line supermarket, which will have 25,000 lines, deli, sushi, fruit and veg, it's own butcher - it's a full line supermarket.

"The front faces the shopping centre, and a link will connect it to the centre of town.”

The new store will employ more than 100 people in various positions, and already Mr Lee said their acquisition of the nearby liquor store had shown positive results.

"It's been 18 months since we took over the liquor store, and we employ more people in there and we're doing more sales,” he said.

"It's also been good to put the Ritchies name into the town before we get into the supermarket.”

The group paid tribute to the assistance of Clarence Valley Council in assisting them making the plans work, through what they said had often been a complex process through landswaps, amendments to DA's and planning, and said that they were keen to see the progress.

"I've been visiting town for four or five years now, and I've got a lot of good friends in town who have turned up day,” Mr Lee said.

"My feedback from the locals is that they want further options and are excited to see it built.”

Mr Lee said that with allowances for downtime due to weather and other disruptions, they expected the store to be ready in April next year.



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