First cafe lands at Lana's Farmers Markets
AS THE afternoon sun hit the bitumen and sweat trickled down the backs of the tradies, Cliff Crampton surveyed his empire, two years in the planning.
Bundaberg has been itching for the opening of Lana's Farmers Markets and on Monday the first almost-complete shipping container was plucked by a crane and delivered to the site on Stancer St.
Urban Cafe + Catering has set a benchmark for other stallholders who have shown an interest in the markets, kitting out their container from top to bottom.
Shaune Johnson and his wife Kylie have spent the past three months getting the container ready, including building an internal frame, packing it with insulation, gyprocking the walls, tiling the back wall and putting in food-safe epoxy floors. Three pendant lights hang over the Laminex benchtop and now all that remains to be done is fixing the cafe's logo to the outside.
What was an empty shell is now unrecognisable.
"It's been built as if it's a fully fixed shop," Mr Johnson, who worked on the container when he wasn't busy plumbing, said.
The cafe will serve coffee, hot cinnamon donuts, slushies, smoothies and decadent milkshake combinations to bring a sweet tooth to their knees.
The couple will also be leasing a second container and have been researching to bring a different cuisine to Bundy.
For Mr Crampton, the markets are dear to his heart. They have been named in memory of his sister, who died from cancer almost two years ago. It will also form part of the name for his own shipping container - Lana's Place - which will be transformed into a bar.
So far there is room for just over 15 shipping containers on site, with about 128 stalls in the middle.
Mr Crampton said interest had been high, with more than 250 applications received so far. He will be holding orientation days this Saturday and Sunday from 9am-10am for interested parties to take a walk through the site and get a feel for what is expected of them.
Unlike some markets further south, every site will have access to power and eight weather-proof heavy-duty sails have been erected to negate bad weather.
The plan will be to open Saturday nights initially and as any problems are ironed out, move into Friday nights and Saturdays.
Mr Crampton said the markets were the perfect vehicle for first-time businesses.
"These things are designed for people who want to get into business but they're scared to take that step," he said.
Containers can be leased for three months, at which time vendors can pack up or continue on, while stallholders are able to apply for a one-month lease if desired.
He is also considering the prospect of finding a green grocer who will canvas all the local farms for the best produce and deliver it to the site for market-goers on a Saturday.
It will mean a one-stop shop for your fresh produce, sourced directly from our farms.
Lana's Farmers Markets is a joint venture between Mr Crampton and Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey.
After selling his Bundaberg chain, Mr Crampton was looking for ideas for the vacant land and approached his friend, Mr Harvey, a former farmer, with the market concept.
When not being used for the markets, Mr Crampton said the space could be leased to private enterprise as a venue for concerts and other outdoor events.
"It's a very versatile piece of real estate," he said.