Market ‘a kick in the guts’
An afternoon market is taking potential customers away from small businesses in Alexandra, a business owner says.
Kiwi Milk Bar and Cafe owner Lee McIntosh is concerned a market run on a Friday afternoon in Pioneer Park, and which sells food, is impacting negatively on her business.
McIntosh penned a letter to the Central Otago District Council late last year outlining her and husband Mac’s ‘‘disappointment, dismay and frustration’’ towards the markets.
‘‘We believe this to be totally unfair, a threat to our continued existence and a real kick in the guts to the rate-paying cafes,’’ McIntosh says in the letter.
‘‘All you are doing is taking business away from the small businesses who have made a commitment to the town.
‘‘What the markets do is take the time of the week we rely on to carry us through lean periods and put them under threat by providing unfair competition that is operating on a very, very uneven playing field. The markets have no overheads, no wages, no rates, are nowhere to be seen when times are thin. It is unfair.’’
The letter asked the council to consider moving the markets to a Sunday, which would ‘‘[offer] something in the town centre on a day when otherwise not much is going on’’ and draw people in from around the region.
It’s understood the cafe owners were supported by at least four other small businesses in town.
On Thursday, McIntosh said they were not against the markets, just the day they were held. ‘‘All we were doing was asking some questions. We want what’s best for the town.’’
Market organiser Adrienne Lamb said the market complied with council regulations and was entitled to be there.
The 10 to 15 stalls were also run by business people trying to make a living, she said.
‘‘When I read [the letter], I thought it was ridiculous. Just really silly stuff.
‘‘I have it on a Friday so it doesn’t conflict with other markets.’’
Lamb said the market had been a success and was bringing people into Alexandra, which was of benefit to other businesses.
The Vincent Community Board held an informal meeting with concerned businesses and Lamb, and concluded no further action would be taken.
Friday Food and Produce Market organiser Adrienne Lamb.