A healthy crowd was circulating through the hall and forecourt area, poring over displays of colourful and inventive wares in the market’s final hours, and many sellers said they’d had their best year yet.
But others were disappointed with business.
Designer Anika Cook said attendance numbers and sales at Northcote “weren’t that great” in comparison to other markets around town where she sells her artwork and jewellery.
Several other stallholders said trade had been slower than last year.
According to a local clothes-maker, even Thursday night’s market, the last before Christmas, which traditionally sees a surge in last-minute shopping, had been disappointing.
“There are plenty of people, but they’re not spending,” she said.
The majority of traders, though, seemed to have done well over the four Thursdays and were enthusiastic about the market’s management and ethos.
Darebin council estimated 3000–4000 people attended over Kris Kringle’s month-long run this year, which is its sixth.
Darebin’s Director of City Design and Environment, Daniel Freer, said the night market gave residents and visitors the opportunity to support local artisans and designers by buying directly from them and was a positive community event that had become “a firm favourite on the local calendar”.
“Feedback from stallholders is frequently that the event is one of the few on their busy calendars that they look forward to attending,” he said.
Collette, of Type.C, whose typewriter-key cufflinks and jewellery do well with the Northcote demographic, she says, is one seller who’s keen to come back.
“There’s just a great atmosphere, a good vibe and great marketing. The use of the outside area for food and stalls is great and the music and roving entertainers. Anything with Darebin at the Northcote Town Hall I definitely want to be a part of again. They do a really good job of putting it together.”
Mark Farrell, of Record Attempts, who converts old records into notebook covers and wall hangings, goes to a lot of markets, and agrees that Kris Kringle’s combination of indoor and outdoor space and live entertainment make it interesting.
He also credits good marketing, nice management and the people working and shopping there with making the market “always nice to do”.
“They have a good mix of stalls and a good mix of people attending—locals as well as people from further afield. And a lot of people say they come here because they like to support the local artisans.”
It was the third year at the market for Jen Briggs and Barb Douglas, and it’s been a good one for them.
The mother and daughter team, who make soft toys from vintage patterns, had almost sold out of stock on Thursday night and said they’d definitely be back next year.
Barb, who lives in Taylors Lakes, said the travel was worth it because the market was also a good night out.
“Just seeing people come up and smile at the animals is great. And the little kids love to look.”