Laurieton Riverwalk Markets coordinator Lisa McPherson says the markets offer local businesses the opportunity to showcase their goods and boost their brand.
“The markets attract a crowd each third Sunday of the month and it’s a great way for local business to promote themselves by having a stall or raise awareness that they are open,” she said.
“A lot of people who attend the market will also look for an easy takeaway meal to grab on their way home or make other purchases, which puts more money back into the town.”
Ms McPherson gave the example of when a stallholder experienced tyre troubles and the problem was fixed by a local repairer.
“By remaining open on a Sunday, local businesses can leverage from the crowd which the market attracts,” she said.
Port Macquarie Hastings Council adopted its Markets Policy in November and many stall holders are concerned about the impact at the Port Macquarie Real Food Market.
Under the new policy, stallholders at the Real Food Markets can’t set up before 3pm each Tuesday, effective from February.
Michael Kendon from Kew’s Totally Free Range Eggs estimates 90 per cent of his customers purchase through the weekly Tuesday market before 3pm.
“For us, it’s more about giving the customers access to where food comes from, direct access to the farmer and how it’s grown,” he said about the market experience.
Mr Kendon is concerned the council policy, as it applies to the Real Food Markets, will stop additional traffic coming through the shopping centre and nearby businesses and impact the accessibility of fresh farm produce as well as the understanding of where food comes from.
He also raised concerns fewer market sales could lead to job losses.
However Ms McPherson said stallholders at Laurieton Riverwalk Markets don’t need to be concerned about any time changes.
The council adopted policy states that in each of the Port Macquarie, Wauchope or Laurieton CBDs, in any week, only one regular market will be permitted from Monday to Friday, with a set-up time to be no earlier than 3pm, and one regular market on the weekend with the Saturday set-up time to be no earlier than noon, as a general guideline.
Ms McPherson said the Laurieton markets are on Sundays, which means the policy does not impact the existing timing of the market.
While Ms McPherson said council’s policy is understandable in terms of council being conscious of local events from a destination management perspective.
“I hope it encourages council to keep the lines of communication open between all sectors,” she said.