Wirrimanu Supermarket Re-Opens

December 14th 2016 marked the opening of the new Wirrimanu Supermarket in Balgo. This was a unique and special occasion.

The $4 million development will make a significant improvement to the lives of up to 1000 people in and around the East Kimberley Aboriginal community for many years to come.

The new Supermarket is vastly different to the old with a modern feel throughout. Significant upgrades include a new and improved range of food and general merchandise along with a new kitchen and takeaway facility.

In 2008 the Wirrimanu community was having difficulty running the store effectively and efficiently, thus the community was suffering. The store had fallen into significant debt and the longevity of the store was in question.

The store directors decided to approach Outback Stores to help. The directors and Outback Stores agreed that a significant refocus on governance and efficient day to day operations was needed to turn the business around.

The community worked vigilantly to embed solid processes and sustainable business practices. Thus, 8 years later all existing debt had been cleared. Impressively the store had also banked $2 million in profit.

The directors decided the money was to be used towards building a new and improved supermarket for the community.

The Aboriginal Corporation successfully applied for a commercial loan for the additional $2 million required to complete the development.

The first time an Aboriginal community has initiated and funded its own new store. An outstanding achievement. Over the journey, a strong relationship between both organisations has been forged and is a testament to what can be achieved by a strong community working side by side with Outback Stores.

The idea of a new modern style supermarket was that of the previous chairperson of the store directors, as the old store was not much more than an old tin shed.

Sadly, the previous chairperson Kumuntjayi Bumblebee passed away a few weeks before the opening, his family, the Bumblebees were on hand to cut the ribbon at the opening and signify the amazing legacy left behind for current and future generations.

The opening was an emotional day including speeches, the blessing of the store, traditional dance and a huge community BBQ. The kitchen and takeaway opened in January 2017, with the focus on providing healthy and nutritious meals for the community.

Image: The team is all smiles ahead of the first day of trade in the new store.