PRETTY: Kylie from Kylie & Jill's Handmade Wooden Roses at last month's Calliope Central Twilight Markets.
PRETTY: Kylie from Kylie & Jill's Handmade Wooden Roses at last month's Calliope Central Twilight Markets. Matt Taylor

Creative concept breathes new life into struggling Gladstone town

A TOWN that has had its confidence shaken by economic downturn may have found its footing once more.

Caught in a winding spiral forcing a collection of businesses to close their doors, some members of the Calliope community have had enough.

One of the women determined to claw her beloved town out of trouble is Robyn Hamilton.

The owner of Coffee Ink formed an alliance with fellow businesswomen Lee Grieve and Clare Stone to breathe new life into the town and together, the three women brought Calliope its first ever Twilight Market.

She said Calliope had suffered a lot in the downturn, shaking the community's confidence.

"We decided to try having a market out here at the shopping centre," she said.

The three women's thought process was, as there were already multiple daytime markets held throughout the region, they would try their luck at a twilight market.

And as Calliope has a very limited number of family-style activities, it seemed the perfect fit.

 

Calliope Central Twilight Markets.
Calliope Central Twilight Markets. Contributed

After permission was granted by the Calliope Central Shopping Centre, Ms Hamilton, Ms Grieve and Ms Stone took to social media to determine if their plans could turn into an actual event.

"We were inundated by stall holder interest ... It went crazy online and gained traction. We were receiving a lot of community support," Ms Grieve said.

The first night of markets was held on February 16 and exceeded Ms Hamilton and her peers' expectations.

"People came out in droves.," Ms Hamilton said.

It was a huge success and local police even came to us and said there had been a lot of traffic on the roads that evening."

The next night of markets will be held on Friday outside the shopping centre.

"We're doing this to support our tenants and shop traders," Ms Hamilton said.

It's a win-win event because local art and handmade items are promoted but our local businesses in the shopping centre also benefit."

In an effort to help shopping centre traders and local artists and stall holders, no food stalls are provided.

 

Calliope Central Twilight Market on February 16.
Calliope Central Twilight Market on February 16. Calliope Central Twilight Market

Instead, cafes and restaurants at the shopping centre will stay open throughout the event, which is set to be bigger and better the second time around.

"We have 40 stalls this time, more than last," she said.

Ms Hamilton said there were over 80 expressions of interest from stall holders ahead of the event.

Mr Toot (a children's circus entertainer) will also be attending between 5.30pm and 6pm and live music will be provided.

For more information on this weekend's event, visit the Calliope Central Twilight Markets Facebook page.

Stalls are open from 5.30pm until 8.30pm this Friday.



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