Look after locals

January 19, 2018

Fryers St Food Festival brings many people into town.

Shepparton’s Chamber of Commerce argues local food and drink vendors should be given priority at Shepparton’s food festival events ahead of out-of-town operators.

Chamber president Carl Hainsworth said first opportunity at events such as the upcoming food truck festival, set to run alongside a beach volleyball tournament at Victoria Park Lake, should be given to city traders before enlisting outside vendors.

‘‘Local traders should be first port of call,’’ he said.

‘‘If they’re vendors that we can’t offer the same from our own traders, all is well.

‘‘It helps with the event, and brings people into town ... we’ll still gain revenue for the city.’’

But, Mr Hainsworth harboured concerns where fly-in operators would be placed in direct competition with local businesses.

Business competition aside, Mr Hainsworth welcomed the about $1million estimated injection to the city’s economy from the pair of events.

Traders in neighbouring towns have recently expressed concern about food trucks drawing economic activity away from their shops.

Acknowledging these events meant outside traders coming in to trade, Greater Shepparton City Council’s events team leader yesterday said the council was also keen to work with operators in showcasing local produce.

A central business district restauranteur this week told The News such events could only be beneficial to city cafes and restaurants.

Meanwhile, Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said there was always concern food festivals could take away from existing city businesses, but she remained confident the upcoming festival would provide opportunity for shops in the city centre.

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