Market Makeover

Local produce, live music and family fun will be on offer this weekend for the official relaunch of the Cotters Market. IMAGE: Sunday on Flinders

The refreshed Cotters Market will officially launch this Sunday, after the market’s tender was handed over to Renegade Handmade’s Karissa Chase in July. 

We caught up with Karissa ahead of the relaunch to find out about her plans for the future of Townsville’s premier market and why people should give Sunday on Flinders a second chance.

If people haven’t visited the Cotters Markets in a while, why should they stop by again?
If people could find the time to come down and spend their Sunday on Flinders, it will do wonders for our CBD. Every stall at the markets is a little Mum and Pop store in essence, and when you shop at the markets you are supporting your community. I don’t intend on recreating the former Cotters Market, but I do plan on giving it a refresh.

What were some of the key goals you had when you applied to take over the tender?
I wanted to make the market a place to be on Sunday mornings again. We have so many amazing options in Townsville that Cotters had become a bit old hat and forgotten. Even before I was a regular stallholder at markets I would love heading out on a Sunday morning to grab a coffee, wander the stalls and bump into friends. I wanted to create a vibrant atmosphere so locals and tourists would enjoy a visit to the market and create some new Townsville memories.

How have your first few months been, are you seeing growth and a change in attitude?
I’m stopped by customers every Sunday with words of encouragement. Those that live in the CBD have noticed the changes the most. We also get regular feedback from an enthusiastic collection of stallholders. They tell us what they appreciate and the things they would like us to work on. Our goal is simply to make Cotters amazing and having them excited for the future is fantastic. Last week we received a delicious home baked cake and a card as a thank you. It was so wonderful and heart-warming for someone to let us know they think we’re on the right track.

Are you seeing renewed interest from stallholders?
We essentially had to build the business from the top to the bottom as we walked in with absolutely no stallholder information or processes, so our first couple of months have been about creating the connection and relationship between management and our current stallholders. Now we have all of that wrapped up and we have announced our launch, the interest has been amazing with many queries from new stallholders.

Obviously something like the markets can’t be made perfect within a week – what’s your ideal timeline for the future of Cotters Market?
Even with the simple and initial tweaks of adding more live music and family-friendly seating, we’ve had great feedback from the visitors and stallholders. It is going to be something that will evolve over time dependent on how the community of shoppers and stallholders respond. I’m happy with what we have already achieved in the 11 weeks we have been on-board.

Are you working on a lot of collaboration between the Renegade and Cotters Markets?
We won’t be collaborating as such as they really are two very different markets and I keep the businesses separate.  We have maybe five stalls that do Renegade once a month and Cotters the other weeks but those that are looking for more opportunities to sell their work are definitely welcome.

What can we expect at the launch this weekend?
OMG what haven’t we got! 4TOFM will be broadcasting live, Melville’s are bringing the petting zoo, the kids can also come and try the circus with La Luna Youth Arts, heaps of new stalls and delicious food vendors and we have a great assortment of prizes donated by local businesses including accommodation packages.

When do you find time to sleep?!
Sleep? What’s sleep! No seriously, I have a great team behind me now with Rachael, Rhi and John, and they are just as passionate about this as I am and we’re all feeling enthusiastic about the future both short and long term.

Catch the official launch of the new Sunday on Flinders at the Cotters Market this Sunday morning. To keep updated on the market, follow Sunday on Flinders on Facebook.

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