THE Hooper Centre is back in business with the much-anticipated opening of the IGA supermarket on Monday.
Following closely on the back of the re-opened Patton's Discount Meats, the new IGA is part of the major transformation since the devastating fire that ripped through the centre just before Christmas, 2013.
IGA owners, brothers Gaurav and Vishal Bansal, are confident the supermarket will help to boost customers for other centre traders who have struggled throughout the redevelopment works.
"It's chalk and cheese what the centre was and will be. Once it's fully leased, it will be a totally different centre," Gaurav said.
The new-look IGA will feature a market-style produce section where customers can enjoy individualised service on the floor as well as a fresh bakery and deli.
The store will be opened by football legend Allan Langer at 8am on Monday.
In addition to the new IGA and Patton's stores, the Hooper Centre owners are well advanced on a multi-million dollar, major refurbishment of the centre.
Director of retail management for the centre owners Carmelo Trimarchi congratulated IGA and the Bansal Group on the launch of their new store and said the opening was "a major sign of confidence in the Hooper Centre as a shopping destination and a much welcomed development for the centre, its tenants and customers".
"The past 17 months have been a very difficult time for the existing tenants. But the opening of Patton's and now IGA represent major milestones in the Hooper Centre's transformation. The centre is once again the convenience shopping destination in the heart of Toowoomba," he said.
Mr Trimarchi said the progress had attracted interest from other new retailers.
"We will shortly welcome several new personal services tenants to the centre although there remain a few opportunities for other new tenants too.
"We expect to be fully leased by the middle of the year to coincide with completion of the balance of the refurbishment works when a full re-launch of the centre will occur."