Fresh take on markets for CBD
TOOGOOLAWAH born and bred businessman Shane Rice has a plan to spring a bit of life back into the Ipswich CBD before the massive redevelopment takes place.
Starting from local election day on March 19, Mr Rice will bring upwards of 100 market stall holders into the mall and d'Arcy Doyle Place, with a focus on providing local farmers' produce.
In what Mr Rice refers to as "markets with a twist", the new markets in the mall will feature a wide variety of live entertainment each week, with an aim to offer visitors a different experience every time.
"There is really nothing like this in Ipswich at the moment and the economic development team at Ipswich City Council has been fantastic in their support for what I am trying to achieve," Mr Rice said.
"The catchment for Ipswich is huge and we've got farmers all around us who have great produce but are delivering it straight into Brisbane. Not only that but there is a big community of artists and fashion designers."
Mayor Paul Pisasale said the markets were just the thing the mall needed as the city prepares for one of its most significant physical changes in 30 years.
"The retailers are saying that we need to get people involved," he said.
"Let's see that it's quality and that people get down there on a Saturday morning to support it.
"It is our CBD and it's only going to work if we support it."
Those sentiments were backed up by one of the mall's retailers, Queensland Motorsport Museum owner Ian Bone, who urged retailers to make the most of a new opportunity.
"We have already seen from our own initiative in getting car clubs to put vehicles on display, that it can bring people into the mall," Mr Bone said.
"This is a chance to get people into the mall on a regular basis, if it is genuine product like a farmers' market with fresh produce every week it can be a positive, but the traders have got to get behind it."
The markets will aim to provide a hub for everything from farmers, to butchers, to fashion designers and local musicians and entertainers.
With enough interest, there's a chance of up to 120 stalls extending right up into d'Arcy Doyle Place on a Saturday morning.
Mr Rice said he was already on the job of booking a different type of live entertainment for each week of the markets.
A different charity organisation will be nominated each week to benefit from donations made to charity tins at each market stall.
Mr Rice returns to Ipswich with experience in managing bars, clubs and cafes as part of the Wyndlynd Group of companies.
The markets will be run every Saturday 6am-1pm, starting March 19.