Ripley Town Centre officially open

The highly anticipated first stage of the $1.5 billion Ripley Town Centre will be officially opened Saturday 26 May.

The milestone will be marked with a community festival on Main Street from 11am to 4pm.

It will include sidewalk dining, live music, kite flying, rock climbing, a silent disco, roving performers, interactive community displays and more.

Excitement for the opening has been building in recent months as the finishing touches were put on stage one, which is anchored by Coles, and tenants moved in.

From engineer to barista

Nick Harris and Lindy Ralph are among those who have set up shop in stage one, opening the doors on a trendy new cafe called Eco Shot.

It has a sleek, semi-industrial feel with concrete floors, open ceilings and high bay lighting.

Mr Harris said while running a cafe might at first seem a far cry from his previous career as an engineer, the two had similarities.

“It’s the idea of creating something that will give people satisfaction, something that they will enjoy,” he said.

“I have got a love of cooking and wanted to develop that into a career. Lindy has 33 years experience in hospitality so we’ve been able to combine experience and passion.

“We’ve put together a menu that offers a mix of traditional food with more modern offerings, so there is something for everyone.”

A strong sustainability theme is at the core of Eco Shot, from its name to the biodegradable packaging used in store.

“All our packaging is compostable. Being an engineer in a past life, in fact I previously worked on the first green star rated shopping centre built in Queensland, sustainability has always been important,” he said.

The Yamanto couple said they were excited to be among the first businesses to open at Ripley Town Centre and looked forward to watching the community grow.

Apar Hair a cut above

Charlene Rapa was never a big fan of school so when her mother suggested she quit and instead give a job in a friend’s hair salon a go, she did not take much convincing.

That was 20 years ago in Dubai and Ms Rapa was 13 years old. Today, she is the proud owner of Apar Hair Studio which just opened its second store as part of the new Ripley Town Centre.

“I loved it and I really haven’t looked back since,” she said.

Ms Rapa moved to Australia about 15 years ago and managed a salon in Sydney before she and her husband moved to Melbourne where she taught budding hairdressers.

About six years ago the couple moved to Queensland with Ms Rapa working from home while she cared for the couple’s two young children.

“The boys started school and it was my husband who gave me a little push and suggested I start my own business, and I thought ‘why not’,” she said.

Ms Rapa opened Apar Hair Studio (it’s Rapa backwards) at Augustine Heights two years ago and said when the opportunity to open a second store at Ripley came up it was too good to let pass.

“I saw the potential for growth and what Sekisui House was doing here and thought it would be a really good idea to get involved,” she said.

“They are all about supporting the local community which fits perfectly with our focus and they are really committed to being green and environmentally friendly.”

Ms Rapa said her passion for hairdressing remained as strong today as it was when she started two decades ago in Dubai.

“It’s all about the people and the community for me. I love making women and men feel relaxed and beautiful and as a bonus they get really amazing hair,” she said.

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