Be fair to the retailers response

In response to Alan Slater’s letter to the editor of 13 March Moorabbin Leader, “Be fair to the retailers”, I must point out that his suggested connection of ‘the Bentleigh Sunday Market having a huge impact on the viability of local traders’ and the number of empty shops on Centre Road Bentleigh is totally an erroneous conclusion. Quite the contrary, without the Bentleigh Sunday Market attracting thousands of shoppers each Sunday, many of the local retailers, especialy the cafes close by would not have enough pedestrian traffic to warrant opening on Sunday.

The Bentleigh Sunday Market is primarily a “Trash and Treasure” market. There are 145 stalls with some 60 of them being “regulars”, only a dozen of which I would classify as “professional”, and of these, several actually have shops in Bentleigh or Glen Eira. The most visible professionals you will see there are the nurserymen who provide a large variety of outdoor plants and seedlings to the public. I don’t believe any of the 13 empty shops on Centre Road were garden shops.

So, Mr Salter’s statement gives the impression that the Bentleigh Sunday Market is teaming with “blow-ins” is also missleading. The market gives many local people the opportunity to sell their personal goods in a community atmosphere and earn a few extra dollars in the bargain.

The main purpose of the Bentleigh Sunday Market, run by the Rotary Club of Bentleigh Moorabbin Central, is to raise funds for local charities and Rotary projects. And for 35 years countless numbers of people and organisations in need have benefited from donations made possible by this Rotary Market.

The market follows strict conditions set out by the city of Glen Eira, in exchange for the use of it’s carpark area, such as not allowing the sale of food or cut flowers. These and other requirements have been in force since 1977 with the former Council of Moorabbin and since 1993 with the City of Glen Eira. Also, The Bentleigh Sunday Market has a good relationship and line of communication with the Bentleigh Traders Association.

In closing, the Bentleigh Sunday Market is not a “retail outlet” as described by Mr. Salter. It is a Bentleigh institution that many other areas would be glad to emulate.

Bentleigh Sunday Market Manager

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