Friday, 07 August 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Great support for Whiti Village Markets

Two weeks in and the new Whiti Village Markets are already proving a vibrant, popular spot for browsing, brunching and socialising on a Sunday morning.

The brainchild of Renee Brown Douglas of Blackbeards Smokehouse, the market is located at the Waterways, just off Joan Gaskell Drive as you enter Whitianga, opposite the Mobil service station, and is being promoted as something for the entire community to get involved in and enjoy.

“I was thinking about different ways to get my product, which is smoked mussels, out there and I came up with the idea for a market for local producers. I talked with Kyle Dunkle (of Uncle Dunkle’s Wood-Fired Chilli Sauces) and he was keen, so we decided to work together to make it happen,” says Renee.

“Whitianga Waterways have just been so supportive. Peter Abrahamson, the Waterways manager, thought it would be excellent for the community and they have helped us out by giving us the site long-term, organising the power as well as the signage that has gone up on the road. Thames-Coromandel District Council were also happy with the location as there was parking and easy access.”

After approaching other potential stallholders, there has been strong interest with everything from artisan bread, chutneys and juices to plants, handmade crafts and jewellery popping up during the first two weeks. “We are so happy with the response. We have also been in touch with several of our local growers and we hope to have more fresh fruit and veggies coming over the next few weeks,” Renee adds.

Already she says there is a real feeling of community at the event. “That’s exactly what we wanted. No-one owns the market, it’s for everyone and everyone is welcome. We have also approached some of the local shops who might like to come down and have a pop-up stall. All they need is a gazebo and somewhere to display their products. There is room for everyone and it’s also a great place to meet other sellers and do some networking.”

Renee says some businesses have already been generating leads as a result of being at the market. “A friend of mine is a landscaper and she met the lady who sells native plants at the market and she was so impressed with the quality that she is now looking to place an order with her. But it is social too, we have a crowd coming from Kuaotunu, people from Hahei and of course Whitianga, everyone is chatting and hanging out, sharing a coffee, it is really cool.”

A charitable trust has been formed to manage the market which will run on a non-profit basis. “The fee for a site is just $15. That is to help cover the costs we need to meet like insurance, a portable toilet and advertising, but we will be keeping those to a minimum. Whitianga Butchery has also donated 100 sausages for us to sell in order to help raise funds. The one major investment we would like to make is a permanent marquee, which would really enable us to operate in all weather conditions. We are looking at grants and other fundraising ideas, but if anyone has any ideas or can help with that, we would love for them to get in touch,” says Renee.

Whiti Village Markets will run every Sunday from 9:30am to 1:30pm through to spring when the day and time may be adjusted to fit in with other events held over summer. “We want to work in with the other markets so that we are adding a trading day and not taking anything away from what already exists. One option we are looking at is a Friday night market, which would give the stallholders and customers something new and different, while still enabling them to attend their normal Saturday and Sunday markets over summer,” Renee explains.

In the meantime, the call is out for more stallholders to come and join in. Check out the Whiti Village Markets Facebook page for more information or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pictured: Renee Brown Douglas and Kyle Dunkle, the founders of Whiti Village Markets.

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