Farmer's Quarter leaves the Big Top
WHEN one door closes, another opens.
That's the positive line of thought Source Bulk Foods owner Sheree Johnson has taken following the closure of Shane Stanley's Farmer's Quarter at the Big Top Shopping Centre on the weekend.
Mr Stanley said an "inability to consistently secure fresh produce from local suppliers" and a desire to focus on the long-standing Noosa and Kawana farmers' markets as the driving forces behind the closure that comes months after The Two Bros fruit and vegie shop, owned by Joe and Anthony Natoli, shut its doors.
The ambitious project was touted as an Australian first, but trouble was on the horizon from December, when Mr Stanley rescaled the Maroochydore markets into the "wet area" to focus on providing high quality, fresh food directly to the market.
"Unfortunately a number of factors have coincided to prevent the markets from operating successfully and at the end of the day I made the call to cease the markets," he said.
"I've had a lot of support from local farmers, producers and local shoppers, but it just wasn't enough to make it a success.
"My decision is ultimately in the best interests of the existing stallholders, the owner of Big Top, its retailers and myself."
Do you think the future of the Big Top is positive or negative?
This poll ended on 17 May 2016.
If it's approached in a positive way there will be a positive future.
The track record doesn't look good.
It probably depends on who takes the empty spaces on and how well locals support them.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Following the closure of the Farmer's Quarter on Saturday, Mr Stanley said he would work with remaining stallholders to accommodate them at his Noosa and Kawana farmers' markets.
Ms Johnson said although she would love to see more customers coming through the centre, she was there to stay.
"I'm happy with the centre and the closure of the markets doesn't affect me as a business," she said.
"We have really wonderful and loyal customers who come to visit us and I'm excited about the future of the Big Top."
Mr Stanley thanked the owners of the Big Top, LaSalle Investment Management, for their support in trying to make the markets a success since they took ownership of the centre in July last year.
A LaSalle spokesperson said the closure was disappointing, but they supported Mr Stanley's decision "as it is in the best interest of all parties involved".
"The centre has however, had on-going interest from both local and national retailers in opening new stores at Big Top and we are now in a position to progress discussions with a number of prospective tenants," the spokesperson said.
They said "we hope to be in a position to announce new retailers in the coming months."