Sunday, 19 May 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 18/5/2019

One trader is excited by prospects for post election business. He theorises that before the election, most of the population is depressed by political campaign bashing, and after the result around 50% of the population are really happy. Does that mean they will spend? We will probably have the answer by close of business on Sunday.

And the trader who really wanted to avoid discussing politics had this response for inquisitive customers who asked what he thought of the election- “When you are considering chickens or turkeys, it is comforting to know that either way you get a roast.”  Very profound.

A trader suggested that the experts who attempted to predict the election result probably went to the same school as traders who attempt to predict business levels each day - they are both very sure before the event and then equally sure of where they got it wrong after the event.

And some traders just refuse to get involved. A trader was asked what he thought of the surprise result on Saturday night. His response “Don’t tell me the Swans beat the Kangaroos in Hobart again?”

Some SBA Container discussions 
-     “I can’t wait for them to start trading.”
-     “Traders In L Shed facing the work zone should get a rent discount.”
-     “Very exciting innovation. How will customers react?”
-     “Let’s hope they get the stalls behind the containers occupied quickly. They have the potential to become a storage box dump.”

A trader is delighted by the continuing sunny days at this time of year but refuses to accept any association with climate change. He reckons it is just lots of Queensland tourists bringing their weather down to Melbourne.

A customer asked how much it would cost to have his purchase put in a quality paper bag rather than the standard plastic bag he had seen at some stalls.

L Shed plans explained - We understand that the stalls in L Shed, behind the new containers, will be occupied again in a few weeks once installation is complete. Traders who have been moved temporarily while works go on will have the option of returning to their old stall although some may choose to stay in their new locations. It is also envisaged that L Shed would be a perfect place to start new traders, particularly if they don’t require stall depth.

Are QVM Containers Just Natural Evolution Of Open Stands?

Are String Bean Alley containers a whole new way of shopping or just an evolution of open stands that meets modern demands? It is an interesting question and one that we probably haven’t examined closely enough particularly in relation to the cost of trading.

The interest in containers from traders is huge. Twelve new containers in SBA attracted 70 applicants. Some traders are suggesting that containers should become the dominant option in our market. A lot of that is probably being driven by the convenience factor. A roller door means lots of labour saving. Some traders in open stands spend 2 hours at the beginning of the day setting up and another 2 hours packing.

There are other factors at work too. Customers are demanding more accessibility to traders. Trading more often and trading longer are two of those demands.

Night time trading is becoming a key element for the market and some of you will be aware of the effort it takes packing up a stall at the Wednesday Night Market, getting home at around midnight, and then turning up for trade early the next morning, all while keeping a smile on your face. A roller door certainly makes that easier.

And of course all this needs to be done on a shoe string, because low operating costs are the ace card of small businesses like ours. Traders have been maximising efficiency and minimising costs since 1878. That is how we remain competitive.

String Bean Alley is an interesting experiment. In many ways containers are an improvement on existing open stand set-ups but we shouldn’t get carried away. So far the day trading in SBA has been disappointing. Completing the aisle and giving it identity will hopefully correct that. But the jury is still out on the economics and it will probably take 6 months, or at least until 5 day trading is introduced in SBA to get the full picture.

Containers in SBA have great potential, but like all business ventures we should watch the efficiency/cost equation very closely as we move forward.

By Greg Smith

Retailers Worst Nightmare And More

Major US Mall Replaces Car Park With Park

In an interesting parallel with QVM, one of the major US Shopping malls has made a decision to swap its car park for a park because it is better for business.

Westfield Garden State Plaza is New Jersey’s largest mall and it is one of the most successful in the US. It has decided that the future lies in presenting convenient options for the large number of people looking to live, work and play in their neighbourhood.

The link to the full article is below -

Retailers Worst Nightmare

Imagine if the number of retailers in your area suddenly increased and your proportion of business was diluted. A new app in the US has received nearly $8million funding this year to allow anybody (yes anybody) to set up an online store.

“Storr allows anybody to open an online store in a matter of minutes through the mobile app on Android and iOS. It’s just a matter of choosing a name and selecting items from the various brands that have chosen to integrate their inventory with the platform.

Brands themselves set the rates for commission, which must fall between 15% and 30%. Perhaps more importantly, the seller doesn’t have to do anything else — the brands take care of managing inventory, shipping, and dealing with returns.”

Latest Retail News – 18/5/2019

Latest Retail News – 18/5/2019
1. Coles reformats 200 stores around ready-made meals.
2. Body Shop steps up plastic recycling.
3. Ebay to mail out 2 million printed catalogues.
4. Men are spending more on skin care and beauty products.
5. Coles introduces bulk size offerings on 25 key products.
6. exits Australian market.
7. Uber offers its customers “no talking” car rides.
8. Amazon quadruples the number of Aussie fashion brands on its site.
9. Plant based burgers increase in popularity in US.
10. Nielson Research says sustainability high on agenda for Australian shoppers.
11. Zara says local profit up 35% after online launch.
12. Italian fashion house, Fendi, arrives in Brisbane.

Articles Worth Reading:
Australian shoppers want more car parking -

Melbourne’s transport strategy means less cars -

Jeff Bezos offers employees $10,000 to leave -

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Containers Arrive In String Bean Alley

Four containers were added to String Bean Alley yesterday (Monday) with three positioned above the centre walkway and one below.
We understand that more may be introduced before the week is out and successful applicants will now be waiting to find out which container they will be allocated so that fit-outs can commence.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 12/5/2019

Storage boxes may have more uses than we realised with this stray in the Centre Walkway performing as a Tourist Meeting Module. Thanks to Danielle for the photo.

Intrigue continues with the allocation of containers in String Bean Alley with three current market traders confirming they have been offered containers. We understand a number of outsiders are also on the list and a few new hopefuls in our market missed out. Installation of the first containers will commence tomorrow (Monday) and all containers should be in position by the first Winter Night Market on June 5th. Seventy applications were received from a wide variety of retailers/manufacturers for 12 new containers.

Rumour has it that an Irish accent may soon be heard at TRC meetings with the appointment of a new representative.

Apparently one of our traders had dinner with some AFL luminaries during the week including Damien Hardwick and a John Worsfold. Not sure if he is in the footy tipping competition but watch out for some inside information to surface.

Increased advertising is high on the list of trader requests and one points out that if every trader posted on Instagram or Facebook every trading day then maybe we could have a big impact. Most of us just need to know how to do that.

A group of traders agreed that the hardest job in the market right now might just belong to Precinct Manager, Russell Wheelhouse, as he attempts to relocate traders displaced from Queen St. and String Bean Alley. The stakes are high when moving traders because livelihoods are involved. Each move has an impact, and many require a whole sequence of other moves to come together. The traders agreed that they were happy for Russell to have that job rather than them.

Does our photo show the first Drive-through service in the Upper Market?

Missing tourists - a trader says he can't remember the last time the West Coast Eagles were in town (playing against St.Kilda on Saturday night) but their fans were absent from the market. Is this just the downturn biting, the election blues impacting, or some other reason?

A Day Trader who also trades in the Night Market was asked if he was looking forward to having three nights off with the Europa Market finishing this week and the Winter Night Market commencing on 5th June. This trader said he would much prefer to trade. The Night Market is just too important to his income stream right now. 

13/5/19 - 1045 - "I notice Q2 precinct manager still has to look after NMP. Is this back on the radar?" -OOOps.
(Q2 Including Victoria St., A-F Sheds and NMP– Peter Shepheard 0429 372 779)

No OOOps - just a slack editor failing to tidy up loose ends. Thanks for pointing that out. Now corrected - Ed.

Night Market Lighting Turned On For The Day Market

The colourful multi-lingual light boxes in our photo were installed in sheds K/L for the Europa Night Market but clearly have application for our tourist dominated Upper Market during the day.

Adding a bit of contemporary colour to our sheds has gained a positive response from traders who like the “Welcome” theme. Tourists seem to like them as well with a number noticed photographing the signs.

Recently the proposition was put to CEO, Stan Liacos, that the signs should be turned on for the Day Market as well as the Night Market, and he embraced the idea. The light boxes may be changed as market promotions change but we can expect them to be lit during the day in this format at least for the winter season.

Their ‘Welcome” theme is particularly relevant for the large number of international customers who inhabit the Upper Market during the day. And interestingly they may encourage a bit of reverse customer psychology with locals. With recent articles in the South China Post, and New York Times promoting our market to the world, perhaps the locals could view our internationalism as yet another good reason to visit QVM.

Latest Retail News - 12/5/2019

Latest Retail News – 12/5/2019
1. Pallet movement data suggests slowdown continuing.
2. Autobarn pips Supercheap and Repco in customer satisfaction survey.
3. Amazon can already ship to 72% of the US population in one day.
4. Shaver Shop records strong second half.
5. March sales growth driven by price rises rather than volume.
6. Australia’s Forever New to expand in US.
7. Build-A-Bear Workshop saved from collapse.
8. Ebay continues to dominate online shopping in Australia.
9. JD.Com closes Australian office.

Latest Articles:

Australian Retail Expert discusses the hits of a recent Europe study tour.

Embracing Change – How to control the emotional response to change -

QVM In The News - 12/5/2019

“I actually went to Melbourne and had a look at the butchers in the Vic Markets (Queen Victoria Markets) and noticed a butcher had whole goats in the ...
Head straight to the Queen Victoria Market for brunch so you can fuel up for an afternoon perusing the open-air stalls of fresh fruit and veg, bric-a-brac, ...
From June 5 to August 28 the Winter Night Market will return to Queen Victoria Market every Wednesday night from 5pm to 10pm, while the markets ...

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Trader Features In New York Times Article

Some of our traders get a fair bit of press exposure often involving kissing large fish or something similar but when it comes to the credentials of the publisher, it is hard to beat The NewYork Times.
Green Leaf Produce in H&I Sheds featured in an article about Melbourne. It is great to see our market get this sort of exposure.
Here is the link -

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 5/5/2019

A quiet trading day got this trader thinking outside the square, well actually inside the square, when he realised a significant part of his stall was taken up with pillars supporting the roof of the shed. He trades on the South side of L Shed where double pillars are the norm and he has calculated that nearly 0.2 square metres of his stall area is unusable because of the pillars. He believes that as a 40 year trader he is now entitled to around 3.2 months rent credit for space he has paid for, but can’t use. And no, he is not serious, but on a quiet day the mind does look for a thought diversion.

An ex-trader suggests that maybe we got rid of our car-boot sale market too quickly (a car-boot market for second hand goods was introduced a couple of years back on Sundays but put to the sword by then new CEO Malcolm McCullough). With luxury department stores like Neiman Marcus recently introducing recycled goods into their range and millennials actively supporting recycled goods in the name of sustainability, maybe we were ahead of our time.

A trader complains that the acknowledged quiet months of February and September have now been joined by May. We reckon that any month with a Federal Election is a certainty for that list.

Another complaint from a trader who said he entered retail for the “cut and thrust” but seems to be doing a lot more “wait and see”.

A couple of traders are off to China next week to check out new product opportunities at the source. They have organised agent contacts, a translator, and container space for any purchases. What do they say? “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We wish these two a successful trip.

Photographing with mobile phones is a common pastime, particularly for Asian tourists it would seem. Most of us have moved on from “no photos” with the knowledge that social media can be a powerful promotional tool. But one of our traders wants to know where we draw the line. He recently had to ask a photo taking group to make way for customers. As the photo taking becomes more intrusive, he believes we need some strategies.

A customer wonders why we don’t screen off our vacant areas like shopping centres do, or like we do at the Night Market with black cloth. He believes that empty aisles are a very poor look.

A newcomer to the Night Market says he can’t get used to the sight of customers entering his stall with a glass of wine in their hand. He is not complaining. Business is good at night and he believes the more relaxed “entertainment” environment helps.

The Pain Of Moving Stalls

Traders making way for beautification works in Queen St. and containers in SBA are currently going through moving pains and some are going to need help.

There are very good reasons for asking traders to move as we adopt a key recommendation of the People’s Panel for more rest areas for customers and we create a cohesive container offer in String Bean Alley, part of the “Market of Markets” vision for QVM.

The logistics may seem quite simple on paper, particularly given all the stall vacancies in the Upper Market, but in fact moves like this are difficult to co-ordinate. Not only are there endless variations on stall placement that need to be worked through, but for many traders this is not just a matter of moving locations.

Some traders may consider their current spot has significant advantages. They may have formed strong associations with their neighbours. They may have finely tuned their stall set-up and these setups are not always easily duplicated in other spots. They may have entry and exit facilities that suit their business operation and that may include vehicle placement. There can be many reasons why a trader values his/her spot and they are all valid.

Yes, there is a bigger picture here of what is better for the market, and most traders get that. But there is a lot to weigh up. Is the stall area the same? Will adjustments be needed for stall equipment? Will business be as good and are they changing the dynamics with their competitors? Some traders need to place storage boxes with a neighbour and some are being asked to move from the comparatively weather protected J-L sheds to open aisle sheds like C,D, or E.

Some traders have comparatively easy moves, including moving to the stall next door. Others may have options in quite different locations. Ideally every trader will have a like for like option or something close to that. Not every outcome can be guaranteed, this is change after all. But traders need to speak with their Precinct Manager if they are genuinely concerned about their options. This is a difficult logistics exercise, and with open discussion and a little patience, it can be made to work for all participants.

Latest Retail News - 5/5/2019

Latest Retail News – 5/5/2019
1. Four’n’Twenty Pies to be sold in Japan.
2. Former Myer CEO, Richard Umbers, joins Kaufland.
3. Proposed merger between Sainsburys and ASDA blocked.
4. Queensland bans outdoor junk food advertising in bid to tackle obesity.
5. Amazon doubles quarterly income.
6. Flight Centre shares plummet as poor conditions plague travel sector.
7. JB HiFi reaffirms 2019 guidance.
8. Coles website down for 3 days.
9. Online made-to-measure suit company, InStitchu, opens in David Jones stores.
10. Supermarkets lose liquor share to independants.
11. Ikea opens first small format store in Sydney with no checkouts.

Articles Worth A Read – 5/5/2019
Are you catering for drunk shoppers? -

How to come up with completely new innovations -

QVM In The News - 5/5/2019

The market redevelopment seems to be back on track after a shock .... Queen Victoria Market chief executive Stan Liacos, who knew Capp from their ...
Boutique hotel operator Veriu has announced its first Veriu-branded Melbourne offering at the city's Queen Victoria Market. The new-build hotel is ...
Zoos in Victoria will no longer sell water or soft drink in plastic bottles in a bid ... The move comes as Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market is set to stop ...
Sydney-based boutique hotel chain Veriu will operate a new 111-room hotel at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market as part of the redevelopment of the ...
The beloved Queen Victoria Market is the 140-year-old beating heart of the city and Melbourne's most-popular attraction. With more than 600 stalls, ...

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 28/4/2019

Wednesday night’s Europa Market with a French theme apparently produced some good results for Specialty Merchandise Traders although at least one trader found himself sandwiched between 2 long food queues and starved of customers. Mon Dieu!

Intrigue continues over SBA applications with one trader distraught that she was not invited to an interview. Turns out she simply missed the email invite and now is back in the process.

A trader has been sighted regularly directing his customers around to an ATM because he doesn’t have EFTPOS. His neighbours are wondering when he will get the message.

A trader was surprised at the report last week of an extraordinary number of international customers. She says that is not new - internationals have been the core of her business for a long time.

A trader from St.Kilda Craft Market has expressed admiration for our market’s social media exposure. She says we receive more than 10 times the amount of exposure of St.Kilda.

For the trivia buffs - Following the Herald Sun article on Sunday a trader wants to know if Betty Jennings is a Grand Dame of the market does that make husband Terry a Grand Duke? Actually the husband of a Dame gets no title which seems a little unfair when the wife of a Sir can take his title in some circumstances. You learn so much on this website and, yes, it is a quiet news week.

A trader sent us this photo of a sunset over F Shed and hopes it is not a euphemism for business. Thanks Joe – a great photo.

On a brighter note, a few traders have commented on the number of new innovative traders entering our market? From new concept table lamps with interchangeable shades to a stall that photographs your eye. We didn’t realize the human iris could be so amazing as an art piece. Traders have long asked for new blood into our market to add variety and help replace departing businesses. We wish all the newcomers every success.

Have Your Say - click here.

Dear Stan - Can We Keep These Signs Please?

A number of traders in the J-M Shed precinct have suggested we ask CEO, Stan Liacos, if these new signs can be retained all year round.
The contemporary lit signs hang from the ceiling in RK/RL shed as part of the Europa Night Market decoration. They are minimalist in style and seem to blend in quite well. 
A series of these signs welcome visitors in various international languages and given the Upper Market's reliance on international visitors, perhaps they could become a permanent feature.
What do you think? (names please).

Have Your Say - click here.

Market People In The Newspapers

Stephen Ives works in the Fruit & Vegetable sector of the QVM and can often be seen pushing a trolley laden with produce around the market. He was featured in an article in The Australian this week. 
Here is the link -
We would love to see Stephen pushing the trolley in that outfit. It would certainly add an extra dimension to the market experience.

Betty Jennings featured in a Herald Sun article on Sunday with a headline "Market's Grand Old Dame". The article says she is the market's oldest and longest serving stall holder following on from her Grandfather who started in the 1920's. Well done Betty.

QVM In The News - 28/4/2019

Four days a week, Stephen Ives works on a fruit and veg stall at Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. The rest of the time he turns his unusual mind to ...
By Shane Scanlan. Lord Mayor Sally Capp has brought the City of Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market (QVM) project back from the brink. Cr Capp last ...
The beloved Queen Victoria Market is the 140-year-old beating heart of the city and Melbourne's most-popular attraction. With more than 600 stalls, ...
And lastly, the City of Melbourne endorsed its revised vision for the Queen Victoria Market renewal project based on feedback and recommendations ...
Police are investigating an assault and robbery which occurred in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market on 3 March. Investigators have been told a ...
Here's our guide to some of the world's favourite food markets. .... Aptly housed in Victorian architecture, the “Queen Vic Market” is the largest open-air ...

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The 9 Best Food Markets In The World - And Look Who Gets A Mention

An article in the South China Morning Post identifies the 9 best food markets in the world including of course our own Queen Victoria Market, but there were a few non-food mentions including Viva La Calavera. 

Here is the blurb about QVM - 

"Aptly housed in Victorian architecture, the “Queen Vic Market” is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, and is proud to be a plastic bag- and straw-free establishment. Boasting more than 600 small businesses, the market is especially known for its historic meat, fish and dairy halls. Beyond that, you can buy novelty items (ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, anyone?), cute souvenirs, delicious gelato, pop culture art pieces and even enjoy a glass of wine made from locally grown grapes. Not sure where to start? Sign up for one of its two-hour walking tours."

And here is the link to the full article -

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 21/4/2019

SBA intrigue - Apparently some traders who have applied for a container in SBA have been called in for first interviews in the coming week. There will no doubt be intense interest in this process.

Easter can be a strong trading period and there was a real disparity in reports on Easter Saturday from the Upper Market with some very good sales results and some very poor ones. As one trader said “There are no rules during an election, particularly a federal one. Elections just play with people’s minds too much.” Sunday seemed to produce better results for most traders.

Speaking of campaigns, perhaps some politicians could learn from traders when it comes to publicity. A few traders being asked to move their stalls has gained prime reading space in the Herald Sun over the weekend.

Wednesday nights second Europa Market saw long queues again at the food stalls and inevitable comparison between that night’s Russian theme and the Italian theme of the first night. The atmosphere created by the Italian night may just have the edge according to some traders with the travelling Piano Accordionist creating a nice touch.

A trader asks if others have noticed the sudden proliferation of cool stores in A and B sheds. Each trader seems to have their own facility.

A trader said that Easter had brought him an unprecedented cross section of customers - tourists from all over the world, but particularly USA and Hong Kong, lots of locals including some who hadn't been to the market for years, and lots of students with their families. The combination of Easter, school holidays, ANZAC Day, and perhaps some travel deals has created a huge variety of customers in our market.

A number of our traders use social media very effectively but one has just started adding photographs of his customers to his business Facebook page. If a customer asks to take a photo in his stall he says "Yes", but then asks if he can photograph them for his Facebook page. So far the response has been 100% positive and most recently resulted in Facebook communication with the customer. Trader, JLP Melbourne, has logged many customer photos on Facebook and their experience is that customers love the exchange.

QVM Management proposed a 4:00pm finish on Thursday before the Good Friday Holiday and that made a lot of sense to traders who were keen to wring every dollar out of a holiday/tourist time. The intent was very positive but when some traders decided to bring their boxes into the aisles at the normal 2:00 pm closing time it just killed the mood. One trader sighed "One day we might just get this right."

Have Your Say - click here.

Trading Hours - A trader has pointed out that last minute changes to trading arrangements can be difficult to accommodate, and he is correct. The item headed "QVM Management proposed a 4:00pm finish on Thursday" was not just aimed at those traders who brought boxes in to the market at 2:00 pm but also at our ongoing inability to address trading hour issues at QVM. 
Fortunately, management is considering that very issue right now and if the notes from the last Committee of Trustees meeting are a guide (see article here) we can expect a phasing in of more appropriate hours that will address changing consumer trends in a more structured way. It is a difficult one because no one solution is going to please all traders. But there appears to be universal agreement that we can do better with our hours and our communication to customers. Watch this space. - Ed.