HAPPY DAYS: Maryborough Fresh and Save finally opens
FOR Jesse Askew, his new job at Maryborough Fresh & Save is the first time he's had stable employment for four years.
Mr Askew is one of the dozens new employees to hit the floors of the food warehouse giant after the grand opening on Friday morning.
Mr Askew has been hopping from job-to-job since the Howard IGA closed.
"I feel great; everyone kept telling me I wouldn't make it, but then I made the next round of interviews," he said.
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"This new job means I'll be able to get off the work for the dole program. I'm so excited.
"Once I start getting enough hours, I'm hoping to go full-time here. But even then I'm still happy with casual now."
But the doors were finally opened to the public after months of hard work, with owner Grant Prince and his family taking part in the ribbon-cutting.
Hundreds turned up for the opening, with many shopper expressing surprise at the look of the revamped store.
Mr Prince said it was a "major event" for a town like Maryborough.
"We think we're giving people a genuine alternative to the majors, to Coles, Woolworths and ALDI and we're bringing value. So we think we're going to be saving the Maryborough public some money," he said.
"This has been in the works for about 5 years, developing the store and talking to suppliers and landlords.
Mr Prince said there were a number of reasons why he chose Maryborough as the place for Australia's first Fresh & Save store.
"The people we've employed are fantastic people - they're part of the family.
The store was first announced as part of an $8 million revamp of Maryborough Central in December 2016.