Grocery giant Woolworths has today opened a flagship premium Metro store at the new Park Sydney residential development in Erskineville – the first of its kind in Australia. The store focuses on handmade and organic products, as well as hot meals to go.

Much of the range – 200 products from 20 producers – has been sourced from Sydney companies and makers, many of them in the surrounding inner-west area. And in an Australian first for the company, Woolworths has outsourced its in-house bakery to a third party, enlisting Marrickville-based social enterprise the Bread & Butter Project to bake in-house. As with the Bread & Butter Project’s main business, 100 per cent of the bakery’s profits will fund training programs and employment pathways for refugees. Steven Qaqas and Salwan Shaooka – both refugees from Iraq – will work the counter and produce up to 10 types of sourdough each day.

Other locally made products stocked by the new store include doughnuts from Bob & Pete’s 100% Yum, pasta from Pastabilities and vegan and gluten-free sweets from Li’l Sprouts – all companies based in nearby Marrickville.

Customers will also be able to scan their groceries with their smartphones as they shop, checking out at a kiosk at the end of their visit. The store is built for convenience, meaning locals can pop in and grab a pizza baked on-site or visit the curry or sushi bars for a quick take-home meal. An “Entertaining Zone” will be stocked with cheeses, crackers, gourmet dips, antipasto and condiments (a BWS is right next door for all your vino needs).

The opening follows the launch of Sydney’s first fancy Coles Local store in Rose Bay earlier this year, which features a mochi ice-cream parlour, a DIY OJ station and a dog-treat pick-and-mix.

Woolworths Metro Park Sydney is open now at 57 Ashmore Street, Erskineville.