The Castlemaine Farmers’ Market is confident that a potential new supermarket would have minimal impact on its business.
On Tuesday, Mount Alexander Shire councillors resolved that a proposed supermarket development in Castlemaine will be reviewed by an independent planning panel.
Market manager Chris Hain said the idea of price wars between markets would benefit the businesses rather than the local producers.
“The first response (I have) is that we don't view supermarkets as the enemy,” he said.
“I know there's a point of view (that says) more competition translates to lower prices but our charter is to support local farmers and producers.
“We wouldn't see that as a favourable thing because that competition is built around price and profits for the retailer rather than what's a good outcome for producers.”
The Castlemaine Farmers’ Market accredited by the Victorian Farmers' Markets Association and has been operating for almost 12 years.
Between 40 and 55 stallholders attend the market each month with 85 per cent of farmers and producers coming from inside the Mount Alexander Shire.
“We had a small beginning but have moved into centre of town and have a small but growing role,” Mr Hain said.
“Whatever size we might be, (we provide) a significant contribution to local food.
“A market like this can continue because producers get a fair return on market day. Customers will vote with their feet every time.”
Mr Hain said the farmers’ market’s reputation gave him confidence a new supermarket would have minimal impact on the community event.
“We are not immune to that sort of competition but we are confident that what we offer is attractive enough to enough people that it would protect us from any additional competition,” he said.
“To that end we are engaging in a research program to prove that a basket of goods from farmer's market is no more expensive than a supermarket.
“We are hopeful that our research over the next couple of months will help us defend against any potential competition.”
Panel hearings about the supermarket proposal will be held in March and April.