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 markets 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 [selling food] 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.
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“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 the 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 totally unfair.”
The letter asks 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.
“I have been in business for many years and you get a bit p***** off with people who don’t see the big picture.”
Lamb said the markets, started early last year, had been a success and were bringing people into Alexandra, which was of benefit to other businesses.
The Vincent Community Board dealt with the matter by way of an informal meeting with concerned businesses and Lamb.
It was concluded that no further action would be taken.
Alexandra Clyde Business Group Committee chairman Barry Hambleton said concerned businesses approached them and they maintained a neutral stance on the issue.
“We listened to what they had to say. We support all business in Alexandra.”