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The new IBIS ‘remote store of the future’ in Bamaga near the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula will host its official grand opening this Thursday (26 October).

Not-for-profit remote store operator Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) confirmed the new store, with an improved, modern look and design, had successfully passed an initial trial ‘soft’ opening period.

The store, which began construction in September 2022, is a first-ever concept store marking a significant milestone in improving the shopping experience for remote First Nations communities.

It includes:

  • bulk buys, Deadly Deals, and an exclusive product range not typically found in remote stores
  • cutting-edge eMarket kiosks for ordering additional product lines not available in-store
  • a self-service café with a range of nutritious and healthy meal options for the community, including freshly squeezed orange juice
  • active promotion of healthy food choices, including gluten free options, while removing all confectionery from the checkouts
  • instructional resources such as ‘Grow your own’ videos and books, enabling community members to cultivate their own produce
  • eco-friendly shopping trolleys made from recycled milk bottles
  • bakery, including fresh bread and rolls
  • supporting local First Nations businesses by providing merchandising space in store
  • free fruit for children
  • increased shop floor trading area of approximately 800 square metres – almost double the size of the previous store

CEQ Chief Executive Officer Michael Dykes said the new store creates an experience for customers that is not currently available in remote communities in Australia.

“We’re delighted to officially open this ground-breaking new store in Bamaga to continue to provide the best possible service to the local community,” said Mr Dykes.

“By bringing city supermarket-style shopping, healthier food options, and an array of innovative concepts to Bamaga, CEQ is determined to redefine the retail landscape in the region.

“At CEQ, all our team members live by our vision of ‘Caring, Every day, Always’ and improving the lives of residents in remote First Nations communities.

“Our aim is for the team and people of Bamaga to be proud of their new store, which provides a focused range, quality fruit and vegetables, and healthy food options.”

The store also features HappyOrNot customer feedback kiosks to gauge the success of the Bamaga store’s innovative services.

Mr Dykes said CEQ will use this customer feedback to decide which initiatives from the Bamaga store could potentially be rolled out to other IBIS and ABIS stores across CEQ’s remote store network.

“These new stores show how we are reinvesting in infrastructure to increase capacity, employment, quality and affordability in communities,” he said.

“We would like to thank the Traditional Owners for their continued support for the community in making this happen.”

The official opening will take place at 8.30am on Thursday, with representatives from Ipima Ikaya Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, Apudthama Land Trust, Bamaga People Indigenous Corporation, and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council in attendance, as well as CEQ Board of Management, CEQ team members, and the wider community of the Northern Peninsula Area.

CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its 28 stores.

CEQ manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones, Mona’s Bazaar and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.