Mar­ket ‘a kick in the guts’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - RHYS CHAMBERLAIN

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.

RHYS CHAMBERLAIN

Fri­day Food and Pro­duce Mar­ket or­gan­iser Adri­enne Lamb.

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