THE Mill Markets at Woodmans Hill has a new owner.
Geelong businessman Mark Ward has bought the Mill Markets in Ballarat, Daylesford and Geelong for a substantial, but undisclosed, sum.
However, he has also closed down two other Mill Markets in Geelong and a second one in Daylesford.
“These three are good businesses and I want to co-ordinate them as a tourist package,” Mr Ward said.
“I plan to do three-in-a-day tours. The slogan will be ‘Travel the Golden Triangle of the Amazing Mill Markets’.”
The Ballarat Mill Markets opened on the Western Highway in October 2009 and now has more than 80 stallholders selling antiques and collectables.
The Daylesford venue set up shop in Central Springs Road in October 2005 and has about 120 stallholders.
However, the markets went into receivership in August, with Mr Ward negotiating to buy them over the past few months with plans to keep just three open.
Collectively, the three venues will have more than 300 stallholders.
Mr Ward also plans to diversify the range offered.
“Selling just antiques and collectables cuts off a big area of the market. I’m aiming to get a lot wider spread.
“We’ll be working on exactly the same format but just diversifying to attract a larger clientele.”
Mr Ward said he would also focus on ensuring each market had an excellent on-site cafe.
“We’re aiming for great food and great coffee. We want people to stay.”
He said he has always been involved in property development and owned his own Geelong antique store similar to the Mill Markets.
Sold: Geelong businessman Mark Ward at the Ballarat market. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE
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