HAPPIER TIMES: Jenny Rainbird and the Warwick Lions took over the Uber Markets in March.
HAPPIER TIMES: Jenny Rainbird and the Warwick Lions took over the Uber Markets in March.

SHUTTING UP SHOP: Drought dries up market support

LIONS Warwick members are heartbroken after they announced they would be closing their Saturday markets due to a drop in attendance.

The organisation took over from Uber Markets founder Christie Shepherd in March in an attempt to keep the community market day alive, but the blow of drought, fire and bad weather forced the group to shut down after only seven months.

Warwick Lions president Jenny Rainbird said the Lions tried their best to muster up support, to little response from Rose City residents.

“We can hardly get people there. We’ve advertised, we’ve put it on Facebook, we’ve done everything we possibly can,” Mrs Rainbird said.

While Mrs Rainbird knew drought dried out everyone’s pockets, the market’s closure would rob many of a secondary income.

“It’s definitely worsened with drought. We know that everyone is struggling but we’re trying to help farmers out,” she said.

“It’s a lot to do with money, which is a shame.”

To continue the event, the charity would risk running its own van at a loss, which made a decrease in visitors even more disappointing.

“We thought it was good to keep the community spirit up, but at the same time the money we make goes straight back to the community,” she said.

“We give our time so they can get some money back.

“But without support it’s not viable.”

Sending an email of apology to stallholders last week, Mrs Rainbird said she was further disappointed by the response.

“I hate to say this, but out of the 40 people we emailed we got one response.” she said.

One stallholder who since voiced her opinion was Southern Downs Ark president Ann Simon.

The charity ran a stall since the Uber Markets and through the years Mrs Simon noticed the slump in crowds.

“It has got smaller and smaller and less and less people come. It’s sad in a way, it used to be very good,” she said.

“It’s a shame for the town, but what can you do? It’s a catch 22 – people don’t support the stalls so stallholders don’t go because it costs so much. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Mrs Rainbird hoped the closure didn’t mean the end for the markets.

“We would love someone (to take over). We have all the paperwork done and everything is up to date, all you have to do is turn up.”