The market, with the slogan "paddock to plate", was supposed to fill the so-called demand for local produce, meat, and other food products that is said to exist. If the business model was right, it could have provided a higher return to farmers, at a lower cost to consumers.
However it seems it hasn't worked on this way for the Jonsson family. Local farmers have been demanding farm gate prices that see the retail pricing equal or higher to the big two, Coles and Woolworths. And with a concept that only allows locally-produced products, shoppers have discovered what some knew when this venture was first announced: there is very little variety in locally produced produce around Cairns and the Tablelands, the reason many vendors at Rusty's routinely top-up their local items with produce shipped from around the country.
Who wants to make TWO trips to shop for groceries? Fewer and fewer it seems, most days the Jonsson's Farm Market is a ghost town of one or two customers and even the weekends see the parking lot (and now torn-up park across the street) mostly devoid of cars.
And many who've given Warren Jonsson a fair go in the venture claim that even the locally-produced produce hasn't been very high quality. Which could be expected, since the big two grocery chains demand the first-quality items be sent to them, leaving only lesser quality produce for this business.
Much of what's happened was foreseen by the so-called "doom sayers" on other blogs and around town. The most important commodity people have is TIME. Adding an extra grocery stop in one's life (and a stop well out of the way for the majority of the Cairns population due to this silly location) just isn't on. Especially when the only gain is some kind of vague "political correctness".
Don't misunderstand, it would have been good to see this local idea succeed. The grocery business needs some proper competition. We should be lobbying for a Costco as opened in Sydney and Canberra last week. That's the kind of competition that drives prices down and product availability up. The Jonssson's "Ego Market" just isn't going to work.