A new weekly market is planned for Bulli amid claims organisers of the Foragers Market pulled the rug from under their producers' feet.
Management of the once-popular farmers and artisan event at Bulli Showground told some stallholders on Sunday February 24 they would soon be downsizing to a monthly event.
An email was sent to all stallholders two days later that there would now be no grace period and the market would cease, returning on April 14. This left many stallholders wondering how they would replace their lost income.
Producer of Great Southern Mead and Honey Justine Crawford welcomed plans for a new weekly "community market" at nearby bowling greens, as she has lost half of her weekly income.
Ms Crawford said Foragers had been one of the most “outstanding” markets to be involved with but the past 12 months saw its demise as crowds and stallholders dwindled.
"The only time we met up with management was once in the past 12 months, there hasn’t been any ongoing communication," she said. "We never even had a chance to say to [our loyal customers] ‘hey, the markets are going to monthly’."
A statement from Foragers said the move was due to a shift in "climate and popularity of markets".
Bulli BC (who own the former Bulli Bowling Club) has lodged a development application to Wollongong City Council to run a new market with 72 stalls every Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
"The market will have a focus on fresh local produce, food, local sustainable artisan and handmade products, re-purposed and re-cycled products," the DA said.
"This will not have an adverse effect on Bulli's retail centre as products offered will differ from, and compliment the products being sold in the Bulli retail centre and Woolworths retail development.
"The markets will also provide a valuable source of employment for the local community and provide opportunities for local musicians and performance artists."
The market will have a focus on fresh local produce, food, local sustainable artisan and handmade products, re-purposed and re-cycled products.
The Princes Highway club closed in 2013 and was left disused until 2017, when fitness chain F45 setup business in the old club building.
Ms Crawford believed the new markets could succeed as long as there was variety, as she claimed Foragers was mis-managed which caused its demise.
“The biggest problem with the managing … there was an overload of each of the stalls," she said. "There were five or six bread stalls, there were five or six candle stalls and you just can’t have that many [to be financially viable for stallholders]."
The plans for the new Bulli "community market" will be on exhibition through the council’s website until March 20.