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Small suppliers and furry friends the focus for Coles Local in Hawthorn

Supermarket giant Coles has opened its third Coles Local store in Melbourne’s Hawthorn, with a focus on local sourcing, sustainability and pooch pampering.

Eighty speciality local growers, bakers, producers and cafes have been brought onboard to supply the new store, with the expanded convenience offer including an extensive vegan and vegetarian range, Japanese mochi ice cream, self-serve coffee, a candy bar and more than 350 lunch and dinner options that can be prepared in under 30 minutes.

While only assistance dogs are allowed in the store, the self-serve options extend to four-legged friends with the Hawthorn store the first to offer frozen pet food ice cream.

“We’ve recently seen double-digit growth in pet care around inner city areas, with a particular focus on boutique and exclusive products,” head of Coles Local Michael Fahd said.

Melbourne cake and pastry retailer Brunettis, which has been forced to close its stores under COVID-19 restrictions, has been brought in to supply artisan desserts for the Hawthorn store.

“Brunetti has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 with a 90 per cent reduction in our revenue,” owner Yuri Angele said.

“We have had to make some significant adjustments to our manufacturing capacities. Previously, Brunetti relied solely on its retail stores to generate income and this is the first time that we have pivoted our retail strategy to sell our products outside of our stores.”

The store is the most sustainable Coles supermarket in the country to date, with free recycled carry boxes in place of bags, an eco-friendly product section, zero edible food waste policy and reduced plastic packaging on fresh items. The store also uses energy-efficient doors on fridges and staff uniforms are made from 65 per cent recycled bottles.

Located next to Swinburne University Hawthorn, a high proportion of its customer base is millennials, and Coles has endeavoured to make the shopping experience both convenient and sustainable for these frequent shoppers.

It’s the first Coles supermarket to only accept card payments at self-scanning checkouts, to speed up the shopping experience for this demographic which frequently opts for card payments, according to Coles research.

The supermarket format, which is tailored specifically to the needs of local customers, has proven popular with Victorian shoppers, and is now on it way to New South Wales, with Sydney’s first Coles Local to open in Rose Bay in the coming weeks.

“The store will be a destination for convenience, featuring self-serve barista-quality coffee, a scoop & weigh pet food bar and hundreds of lunch and dinner options that customers can prepare in 30 minutes or less,” a Coles spokesperson said.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the Coles Local format is designed to “inspire customers and provide quality food through an in-store experience specifically tailored to the local community.”

“We’ve delivered an offer that makes life easier for customers allowing them to move through the store efficiently, to get the ideal meal solution for their breakfast, lunch or dinner,” he said.

Coles opened the first Coles Local store in Surrey Hills, Melbourne in November 2018, with another following in St Kilda a year later.

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