Chamber seeking vendors for new store

The Merimbula Chamber of Commerce are seeking Expressions of Interest from small businesses who are interested in selling their product through a collective market place store.

The concept is to utilise the Old Millers shop in Market St which will house up 15 local businesses with each vendor have a 3x3m space, similar to that which is available at local markets. Unlike markets though this venture is designed to be permanent fixture in town with the Chamber planning to take up a 2 year lease on the property. The fit out will also be of a retail quality to ensure the store is a great addition to the existing shopping strip.

Chamber President Nigel Ayling said “The idea has been on the table since last year, but the bushfires and COVID got in the way of the plans. Last month we revived the idea and applied for a grant through the Australian Mutuals Foundation and we received $20,000. This will help us get it going and assist with some of the set up costs, and the ongoing costs will be shared amongst vendors”.   

The concept is not a new idea and there are many versions of them around the country, including a group called the Collective Beat in Kiama and Gerringong. What is unusual though is that this one will be run by the Chamber as a business, they will employ a full time manager to staff the store and run the day to day operation. This will be particularly appealing to people who don’t have time to run a store themselves or go to the markets every weekend and give them a permanent outlet for their products.

Apart from the obvious benefits of being able to sell products through the store, vendors will receive a lot of extra support being part of the Chambers Incubator program. Vendors will be able to participate in workshops in a range of topics including finance, export and marketing so they can develop their business further. They will also be able to list their products online through the Chambers website for free and their products will be promoted for them on social media as well.

Vendors will be responsible for maintaining and merchandising their own space and asked to volunteer a small amount of time each month to cover busy periods and help maintain the store presence. The Chamber will be holding a presentation in the Millers shop on Monday 17 August @ 5.30pm and will be taking expressions of interest on the night.