Fruiterers income hit by markets
LISMORE’S fruiterers sayevery week after the popular Lismore Car Boot Market, each of their shop’s takings can be down as much as $2000.
Alex Coranakes, whose family has owned and operated Tropicana in Keen Street since the 1920s, yesterday said he and his fellow fruiterers were not opposed to the boot market per se, but believed consumers were being misled and money was leaving the area when local retailers were struggling.
“After the car boot market there is a general decline in trading,” he said. “Most people believe they are buying local produce, but many of the stallholders are from out of town and buy their fruit and veg from the wholesale market at Rocklea (near Brisbane).”
He said Rocklea agents had ‘told us who they are and we have seen them selling at the market’. “We have done the right thing and invested in our business and provide jobs, but these people just invest in a ute and bring fruit and veg down here,” he said.
Natasha Garred, of PJ’s Fruit and Vegetables, estimates that as much as 75 per cent of the produce on offer comes from outside the local area.
“As fruiterers we can tell just by looking at it if it is locally grown or grown in some shed outside the area,” she said.
But it’s a charge fervently denied by the owner and manager of the fortnightly market, Marny Bonner, who yesterday said all the stallholders were locals and sold locally-grown produce.
She conceded some stallholders did supplement their offerings by reselling items from the wholesale market, but it was‘insignificant’.
However, Suzz Dhesi, of Pirlos Fruit Barn, scoffed at this.
She said the amount of out-of-the-area food at the market had soared in the last three years, as had the number of stallholders who did not pay the large overheads of CBD retailers.
Ms Dhesi estimates there are more than 20 stallholders selling fruit and vegetables.
Ms Bonner declined to reveal how much stallholders pay for a space at the market, but said she would be the largest single rent payer in Lismore.
“The Lismore Car Boot Market has historically been bla-med for any downturn among retailers, but we only operate 23 days a year,” she said.
“There is a growing trend of consumers wanting to buy locally and buy from farmers and that’s what we offer.”
“We live in a democratic society and if retailers in the CBD feel they can’t compete, they are welcome to take a stall at the market.”