According to Central Market management, the 2005 removal of the Grote Street right-hand turn into its car park had a disastrous effect on trade, discouraging around 300,000 visits each year.
Tomorrow, works will begin to demolish the median strip blocking the entrance and to install traffic lights, allowing shoppers travelling from the west along Grote Street to enter the market without having to pass it by and circumnavigate Victoria Square to enter the car park.
Grote Street is the most direct route coming from Sir Donald Bradman drive, however motorists can take a more indirect route via Gouger Street to enter the car park from the west.
Central Market general manager Aaron Brumby said the market would fund a major advertising campaign targeting Adelaide’s western suburbs in an attempt to woo customers back.
He told InDaily traders could hope to gain an extra $16.5 million in revenue each year as a result of the restoration – although the boon may take years to materialise.
“The traders are very excited to see it re-open,” he said.
“There was a significant drop in the number of vehicles in the car park [when the turn was blocked].
“I don’t believe any [trader] closed up show, but traders immediately noticed the downturn … the western suburbs really became disenfranchised from the market.”
He says the Grote Street flagpoles provide “a beautiful entrance into the city” but it was worth removing three of them for the sake of the market.
The market commissioned a major survey project last year, which revealed 86 per cent of those who entered the car park intended to shop at the market on that day.
Each customer would spend an average of $64 at the market during their visit.
The project surveyed 278 visitors to the car park in March 2016.
Assuming the market can eventually attract the 300,000 annual visitations back to the car park, and 86 per cent of those customers spend $64 each, management expects traders to earn an extra $16.5 million each year.
The research project also revealed some of the demographics of the Adelaide icon’s customer base.
About a third (33 per cent) of the respondents to the survey were from Adelaide’s south, 19 per cent from the north, 17 per cent from the east and 14 per cent from the west.
Just four per cent of respondents said they were from central Adelaide – although it is likely many living in the city do not travel to the market by car.
The Adelaide City Council is funding the works which will cost about $300,000.
Brumby said they would be complete within four weeks.
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