Tumut shoppers awoke to a new and exciting store this morning after the Tumut Khub was officially opened.
In a state-wide move made by West Farmers last year, regional Country Targets – such as the former Tumut store – were closed, stripped down and turned into Khubs in a bid to offer communities a more diverse range of products.
The Tumut opening was a popular affair, with people gathering as early at 7am, before Aunty Sue Connelly gave her welcome to country and the entry was cleansed with a smoking ceremony.
Kmart State Operations Manager for NSW and ACT, Belinda Cousins, explained the motivation to open a Khub in Tumut, before reiterating the new store had already created new jobs.
“It’s all about the community, so Kmart is really excited to get into the country areas, and we are blessed to be in the Tumut area,” Ms Cousins said.
“As I said before in my speech, we were able to keep the entire 12 team members that were with Target and bring them across to the Khub team and also offer jobs to a further nine community members.”
Ms Cousins said Khub would be advantageous for Tumut shoppers, who would soon have access to all Kmart, Target and Catch products.
“We don’t kick off with it right away, but what will happen very soon is that in the next couple of months, you will be able to shop the whole entire Kmart range, Target range and Catch range and have that delivered to this store to pick up,” Ms Cousins said.
“You have the unique opportunity to shop across the brands, which is a great opportunity for the community.”
The new Khub store’s manager is Jason Polsen, a familiar face for local shoppers, having previously been employed at Target Country for around six years.
“I’ve been part of the fantastic community here in Tumut for quite some time,” Mr Polsen said.
“I know there is a lot of excitement about Kmart coming … and I feel very privileged to be bringing one of Australia’s most iconic brands to town.”
Kmart State People and Capability Manager for NSW and ACT, Peter Phillips, was also on hand for Tumut’s Khub opening, and he thought it was very special to see the company taking a moment to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land before shoppers walked through the doors for the first time.
“It’s a pretty special place and we like to make sure we are representing from an ATSI (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) perspective,” Mr Phillips said.
“From an NSW and ACT point of view, it has been a huge focus for us over the past 12 months to make sure our stores reflect our communities in which we trade in and for us that means we are able to make sure our employment workforce is also a representative of our communities.”
Mr Phillips, who understands what it is like to grow up in a regional community, also touched on the new job opportunities for Tumut’s growing population.
“Khub’s opening is special; I understand what it means to grow up in a small community having grown up in a regional town myself,” Mr Philips said.
“To be able to have that pipeline for individuals to come out of school and have aspirations to come and have some work is important.
“It’s also important for not only an after-school perspective, but a career perspective. We have great opportunities not only internally in Tumut, but then for individuals who might want to branch out and go to other areas and go across the West Farmers brands and develop your careers.”