Coles West End at the West End markets has just undergone a revamp.

Coles staff unveil the new look fresh food section

Coles staff unveil the new look fresh food section

Manager Mark van den Boogaard

Proud manager Mark van den Boogaard knows the locals

The new scoop and weigh bins

Coles lets the shopper put their finger on the pulse (the nut and the grain)

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Ice under the veggies, self-serve nuts and pulses, an olive and a fish display and lots of timber shelving in the fruit and bakery all conspire to appeal to the healthy, fresh vibe that we West Enders love.

Manager Mark Van Den Boogaard with all the staff unveiled the new look at Coles Marketplace at 7:30 on Wednesday morning. The veggie and the deli staff have the most dramatic changes in their area though the layout of the supermarket as a whole has changed to accommodate the focus on fresh food close to the entrance with the toilet and laundry gear at the far end.

Mark thinks that the olive and the fish bar will mean the most to the West End customers, giving them a market-like experience in keeping with the area.

Acutely aware that lots of West Enders view the major supermarket chains as a predatory  competitor to small business and minimize the amount of shopping that they do there to support the locally owned business, I asked Mark about the local purchasing policies of Coles.

He quoted the official press release, showcasing Maleney Dairies as a local provider. “We want to promote as much local food as possible.” Given that Maleney is a couple of hours drive away, I thought, I’d check … there are no metropolitan fresh food producers that Mark buys from.

Mark is aware that some people are angry that Coles has driven the price of milk down to $1 a litre, driving many farms off the land. “The reason that we have suppliers like Maleney Dairy, is so that those customers have a choice,” he said.

Mark has not heard any criticism of the increasing appearance of Coles brand products on the shelves and feels the criticisms of supermarket trading practices are beyond his capacity to change. They are clearly beyond his authority to comment on, as well.

They are also beyond the scope of a short news report. Suffice to say that you can run into prominent figures in the local traders and community associations, national figures fighting for the rights of farmers and organic food suppliers in the aisles of West End Coles any day of the week.

Mark and the team have put in the effort to present their food in a manner in keeping with what they see as the ethos of the area. As long as we keep shopping there, they know they are onto a winning formula.