The Murray Bridge Farmers Market (MBFM) has been forced to close for good, due to “lack of support and interest” from local residents.
After six years in business, the MBFM committee passed a motion to close the market at a special general meeting on Sunday, August 13.
MBFM Secretary Pam Valerio the market’s financials had been on a steady decline for several years.
Why did the committee move to close the market at the meeting on Sunday? As in, why now?
“The committee decided to go into a hibernation period from April 2017 in order to assess the situation because we did not have the funds to carry the market through to the summer,” she said.
“We had several meetings to discuss the finances and to try to work out a plan, but it became clear very quickly: the market was no longer viable.”
In recent years, the committee has watched attendance dropped significantly.
“We thought bringing the market back to the riverfront and holding several big family events would help boost the attendance, but the weekly numbers simply did not reflect our hopes,” she said.
“This left the stallholders at a loss... if you don’t have the customers, you lose the stallholders. If you lose stallholders, the customers don’t come.”
Pam said competition from major supermarkets and Saturday morning sport commitments were obvious reasons for low attendance.
“The committee tried many different approaches to attract the community - changing venues, holding family friendly events, twilight markets, live music, cooking demos, but as I mentioned, the numbers did not reflect positively on our efforts,” she said.
“If there was a sure solution to growing and sustaining the market, we would have been all for it.”
She said the market’s regular stallholders were as disappointed as the committee was.
“Many are involved in different markets, so we look forward to supporting them in other venues,” she said.
Despite discussion on the market’s facebook page, Pam said there were no plans to replace the market.
In a post to the market’s facebook page, the committee thanked stallholders, community organizations and members who supported the event over the years.
The post also stated that the facebook page would be deleted before the end of the month.