On October 29, 1966, an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald proudly proclaimed ‘Now Wollongong has its very own new David Jones’ store’.
The department store had opened in the city in 1960 but was completely rebuilt on the corner of Crown and Church streets in the mid-60’s, turning it into a ‘’$3.5 million showpiece’’ according to the advertising blurb.
‘’Come and ride on the shiny new escalators that waft you between all four floors,’’ it beckoned.
‘’Revel in the comfort of the air conditioning. Let the elegant decor refresh your eye.
‘’Park your car with ease in our carefully planned car park … then shop (to piped music) for all the wonderful merchandise you expect to find at a David Jones’ store.’’
Fabulous fashions and homewares ‘’from home and abroad’’ were touted; while there was also a special mention for the ‘’great new food hall packed with exotic delicacies and gourmet treats’’.
Fast forward to 2017 and the city is getting excited all over again for another revamp of the iconic department store, which will be revealed to customers at 9am today.
The move to the old Myers’ site has been highly anticipated by shoppers, with a world-class new store which will span 8600sqm over three levels.
There’s 25 new brands across a full range of products from fashion to homewares; there’s services like personal shopping and VIP ensuites – there’s even a breast screening facility in store.
But the return of the food hall after three decades is what many are interested in – with Wollongong just the second Australian city to road-test the company’s new ‘’food journey’’.
There’ll be eat-in and takeaway options for foodies with a retail food market plus an eatery which opens out onto Globe Lane.
David Jones CEO David Thomas is in town for the grand opening, and he’s pretty excited too: ‘’What you will see is far more energy and far more retail innovation through every part of the store,’’ he said.
The department store is of course the jewel in the crown of the new-look Gateway Building, which will also be fully revealed on Thursday.
The official festivities kick off at 8.45am with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, ahead of the opening of the region’s first Mecca Maxima store at 9.30am. Other retailers include Peter Alexander and T2.