This week we mark five years since the $150 million redevelopment of Woodgrove and thank the individuals who have helped make our shopping centre a hub of activity, inspiration and community values.
First established in 1997, the shopping centre you know today came into being after joining the QIC portfolio of premium retail venues in 2012 – the same year Melton was officially declared a city.
Between 2012 and 2013 the retail complex doubled in size to become one of the largest in Melbourne’s west, with major brands such as Aldi, JB Hi-Fi and Harris Scarfe helping to take the number of stores up to more than 150.
In addition to bringing a plethora of new fashion labels and lifestyle wares to the doorstop of Melton residents, the redevelopment also saw Woodgrove become a dining and entertainment precinct worthy of Melbourne’s fastest growing municipality.
One of the people to bear witness to those dramatic changes, and to the developments since, is Kmart Greeter Albert Peck. Having managed the shopping centre for 17 years in its previous incarnation, he knows the faces, places and tastes of Woodgrove better than most.
Albert says: “To watch Woodgrove go from [being home to] 42 traders to more than 150 has been fantastic; it’s a real asset for Melton not only because you no longer have to leave town to find what you need but because the atmosphere among those of us who work here is very congenial.”
He continues: “For me this is not a job, it’s a way of life, and my absolute favourite time of year is coming up when Kmart puts up its Wishing Tree and the generous people of Melton leave Christmas presents beneath it for those less privileged.”
Albert says it is much easier to find quality coffee these days with so many on-site cafés to choose from, and you are likely to spot him dining at La Porchetta when he’s off duty.
Someone else who can vouch for the energising environment at Woodgrove Shopping Centre these past five years is Jonathon Williams, Manager of Boost Juice. He explains: “We opened as part of the redevelopment in 2013 and I remember thinking that Christmas was really busy, but it’s been busier every year since!”
He adds: “Melton feels more like a country town than a city to me because everyone gets to know everyone, and us food and drink retailers are quite a close-knit bunch.”
Getting to know the young families who have chosen to call Melton home and working with others who bring passion to what they do make the job a rewarding one for Jonathon. “We have quite a few regulars who come in two or three times a week and just have to ask for their ‘usual’, and it’s great to feel part of a strong team and community like this,” he adds.
Woodgrove Shopping Centre Manager Kylie Robertson vividly recalls her first walk-through of the redeveloped centre. “One of the first things that appealed to me, aside from the variety of shops, was the amazing Food Court, and five years on the centre still feels modern and fresh,” she says.
Based on the range of national and specialty brands that continue to be attracted to Woodgrove, the people of Melton can look forward to an ever-greater level of choice and convenience in the years to come.
Kylie adds: “I love hearing about Melton’s past from longtime residents, and to talk about Woodgrove playing a key part in our community’s future is wonderful.”
Stay in the loop on what the next five years holds for Woodgrove Shopping Centre by following us on Facebook or signing up for our e-newsletter.