Market Square stallholders cry foul over sign thefts
By Julia Iles
For the past six months new signs advertising the fortnightly farmers and growers market in Grafton have been stolen.
"Only nine of the initial 22 poster-sized signs remain," Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) events co-ordinator Monica Clayton said.
The BEC, a not-for-profit group, organises the market.
Ms Clayton noticed the signs were taken mainly from the stretch between Armidale Road to the Grafton Bridge.
"We thought at first it was vandals or kids, but for it to have happened so many times it seems like it's deliberate," she said.
"The real cost is to the vendors who are missing out on customers."
Every second Thursday the farmers and growers market provides local people with a range of organic fruit and vegetables, eggs, olive oil, honey, crayfish, homemade cakes, jams and biscuits.
Rob Fountain, a market gardener who sells jams, chutneys and fresh vegetables, noticed that at the last market his money purse had been heavier than in previous months.
"Last time signs had been put up in the early morning instead of the night before and from what I could see they remained there," he said.
"I noticed a difference of $30 to $50 more than usual and I think it's a better idea to put them up early in the morning rather the night before."
"But with fuel prices going up everyone is struggling."
Val Ryan, who runs a baking stall, said: "It's disappointing and I don't understand why someone would have a problem with us having a small market here for a few hours every fortnight."
Her answer to the situation is to have a market every week.
"If it was on every week then we wouldn't need signs, everyone would just know it was on."
"I always look forward to it; the sign-stealing is such a shame," she said.
Around 14 stallholders attend the fortnightly markets.
The A3-sized signs were designed by a group eight people on the Work F