LISMORE Car Boot Market will celebrate 25 years of small business incubation this Sunday and market manager Marny Bonner is as excited about the future as she is proud of the past.
"On so many levels the Car Boot Market has enriched our community," said Marny.
"Markets are the most ancient form of community trading, bartering, exchange of information or simply just socialising. After 25 years we are thriving on the most basic of community needs and I love that."
Based at the city hub of the Rainbow Region, the Lismore Car Boot Market under Lismore Shopping Square on the first and third Sundays of each month has helped countless small operators blossom into thriving family businesses. Children who accompanied their parents now have market stalls themselves, or bring their own children to the monthly event.
Marny has been co-ordinating the show since its inception in 1988 and says she feels privileged to experience the market as it has matured over the years.
"It's a real honour to earn a living helping other people earn a living," she said.
"It is fascinating for me to see the ingenuity of people and I am proud of our role as a small business incubator. Nothing is lost and everything is gained for those who try it in terms of experience."
Hundreds of local artisans, craftspeople and traders have started small scale at the Car Boot and gone on to bigger things. Buskers have entertained, farmers have shared their produce and the community has gathered to chat, eat, shop and relax.
Lismore City Council Business Facilitator Mark Batten said the economic stimulus it has created is phenomenal. About 6000 people visit the market each time and it is estimated this injects between $1.3 and $2.4 million into the Lismore economy each year. The market has enabled charities and community groups to raise in excess of $500,000. Of course it has also allowed thousands of people to make and market unique products and establish home-based businesses.
"Markets are the place where a passion can become a hobby, where the hobby grows into a service, skill or product, and this in turn becomes a fledgling small business family enterprise. Many well-known craftspeople, chefs and retailers have lived this story," Mark Batten said
Mayor Jenny Dowell said the Lismore Car Boot Market is a wonderful showcase for the region and it is estimated around 30% of visitors are from outside Lismore.
"I honestly believe it's the best market in the region - there is such an enormous variety and the location is perfect. Whether it's stinking hot weather or pouring rain, the Car Boot Market is always on," Cr Dowell said.
"Whether you're buying or just browsing, you can take in the whole Northern Rivers in an hour's visit and get a taste of what our region has to offer."
A new Development Application for the continued approval of the market is working its way through the Lismore City Council's planning department and it is expected that it will be granted with no changes.