The top end of Maleny is about to get a new burst of creative energy when The Maleny Marketplace opens in early September. This brainchild of Blessed Earth proprietor, Raithe Handiman and his partner Janine, is located in the 1940s Koala building, for many years a service station and mechanic’s workshop.
RAI AND JANINE are investing a lot of themselves into this venture which they see as a constantly changing hub for those with something to offer the community.
Amongst stepladders, saw horses and paint tins, HT editor Michael Berry spoke with Janine and Rai.
“I have always had this idea that every country town should have a place that prefaces what that town does,” says Rai. “I wanted to create a place where anybody in town can get involved, and in any capacity they want to.”
Rai and Janine are following no particular business models although they acknowledge there are elements of weekend markets, art cooperatives, folk festivals, and creative workshops in The Maleny Marketplace concept.
Rai shows me around the spacious building explaining with some relish the sourcing of second-hand doors and windows and pointing out how spaces will be used.
“The building was an eyesore,” says Rai. “It was an embarrassment.” Then he adds with a smile, “but we want it to go from being an eyesore to an icon. By the time it is finished it will be beautiful,” he insists firmly.
Warming to his concept Rai says, “What we’re doing here is not just a business. We’re creating a marketplace and meeting place in which people can come and explore their ideas. They can bring in things that they make to sell, as long as they are adequate quality. They can offer their services to the community through demonstrations of skills, possibly workshops and so on. It’s about giving opportunities for the people within a community to express themselves.”
Renovation of this busy corner site has already attracted attention from a wide variety of people. Rai and Janine aim to take goods on consignment and pay a modest commission to those supplying or making the various items.
Janine is a practitioner of Energetic Alignment and (OMIT along with masseurs) will conduct private consultations in separate rooms within the building. Janine will also become something of a traffic manager for the Marketplace – receiving and assessing the various product requests.
“There will be a range of products … clothing, Blessed Earth bedding, music, anything really that is made from the creative essence of a person,” says Janine. “The emphasis is on quality goods which have been either created or value added.
“We will have some food and coffee,” adds Rai. “There won’t be a kitchen or a restaurant as such, but Janine has the idea of inviting the other cafes from the area to contribute their specialty dish. So what is here becomes a representation of what’s available in Maleny, rather than us having us do something which is in competition with those other places.”
“We will also have home-grown fruit and veg – not necessarily organic but whatever people have grown with the best intentions. And we want workshops, particularly for forgotten crafts like whittling, silver smithing, blacksmithing, playing didg. Slabs of timber as well as rustic furniture will also be on sale. “
“We will also have areas where we can have musicians and workshop groups,” adds Janine, “along with artists painting out there… a very alive space with a lot going on. We imagine the weekends will be very busy with tourists having coffee and light refreshments. We see it as a thriving centre that will become a focal point at the top end of town.”
“Our passion is for people to be conscious and alive and have their lives be meaningful to them. So we are about creating the space for them to let that happen. It’s success will depend on the energy that goes behind it.”
Open in early September Maleny Marketplace promises to be a market with a difference, certainly a place where you can expect the unexpected.