Sunday 29 May 2016

Operatic Socks At QVM

Trader Bruce Pham has an eye (and ear) for social media and his latest video has help from fellow trader Kris Robinson.
It all adds a bit of class to our market environment don't you think?

My Composer Kris Robinson. from Bruce Pham on Vimeo.

Have Your say - click here.

Trader Writes - A Touch of Variety

The following article has been received from trader, Stephen McLennan, concerning a Variety Club Bash that will raise much needed funds for children in need.

                A TOUCH OF VARIETY
The Variety Club Australia (Children’s Charity) is over 40 years old.
This year marks the 26th annual Variety Club Car Rally Bash, which will be leave on August 10th from our Market.
 There will be over 60 cars participating and plan to finish in Darwin 11 days later.
Many of this year’s cars are over 25 years old. They will be displaying a couple of these cars at the Night Market to highlight this event.
With the media coverage that is associated with this rally it’s all good publicity for the market.
This year they aim to raise over  $1.5 million
As part of this worthy fund raiser and tying in the fact that they are show casing and advertising our great Market, we have decided to sponsor one of the vehicles and will have our company logo displayed on the car.
If anyone else would like to enquire about sponsoring or indeed making a donation to the Variety Club they can contact them on.
 Ph – 86983900 or at
If you wish to sponsor the same car as us please contact Bill Redpath on 97630333

Thanks Steve  McLennan – Allanson Australian Souvenirs.

We Know Who To Blame For Retail Recession

Low retail sales in apparently healthy economies is confusing many retail observers and the Queen Victoria Market is not immune. Forgetting the current federal election for a minute we need to ask why retailing is in the doldrums and the answer is not what many traders are thinking.

In Australia, we have essentially a healthy economy - Interest rates are low, oil prices are low, property values are high, and the stock market is a little jittery but doing OK. Ask around our QVM trader body and you will find a number of different opinions on who to blame for the retail recession. Top of the list is usually the City of Melbourne for neglecting our market for so many years, or management for failing to manage us properly, or even our Trader Representatives for not doing enough. None of those are the real answer.

The confusion is evident globally. In the US similarly favourable economic conditions exist and yet according to the Guardian, retail stocks for stalwarts like Macy's, Nordstrom and Gap have all fallen sharply this year with reports of the worst comparable sales results since the Great Recession. Tiffany's has just reported its biggest drop in quarterly sales since the GFC indicating that even the top end is not immune. So the conditions are great for shopping but consumers are not shopping. In the UK analysts are reporting a 10% decline in shopper visits to strip shops and shopping centres over the past year.

A consumer psychologist at Golden State University, Kit Yarrow,  recently commented - “We’ve had to start looking at the consumer in a completely different way." “We can’t evaluate their confidence and willingness to spend in the ways we used to,” says Yarrow. “Consumers just don’t react the way they did even five years ago. Technology has taken over and they feel more empowered.” According to Yarrow, "It’s taking retailers forever to realise that when people go shopping they want to see new things all the time. This is what technology has done to our brains. We want a lot more excitement and product turnover in our lives. If we don’t see new product, we won’t go there any more."

Analysts generally are talking about the shock of the GFC creating a new consumer who says - "If I don’t get it how I want, when I want it, for the price I want it, I won’t have it at all." That quote will probably resonate with a lot of traders, certainly those in the more discretionary spending categories.

So, getting back to who is to blame for the current retail recession? Clearly it is the consumer, but unfortunately there is not much point in pursuing that blame. What is the old saying? - "It is unwise to bite the hand that feeds you." If blame is not going to help us then we need to find other ways of addressing retail doldrums and maybe the answer lies in Yarrow's contention that we need to constantly develop more excitement and product turnover through new products. Come to think of it, isn't that exactly what Zara and H&M did when they opened up their own factories producing new fashion designs on an 8 week turnaround? So much to think about.

Do We Need To Do More For Traders?

Retailing is going through a revolution that is imposing huge strains on all participants including traders at QVM. The stresses of running a small business are significant. We all knew that before we made the brave step into this unpredictable world of retailing but even the hardest of us probably didn't foresee the turmoil that currently exists. Throw in a market renewal and maybe we need to think about some safeguards for at-risk traders.

And, yes, I am talking about emotional strain brought on by financial hardship and unpredictability. These are stresses that every trader can feel, but are probably more obvious for traders with young families, and a mortgage. We didn't enter retailing with a blindfold, or at least we shouldn't have. This is a business. It has elements of a gamble and the risk/reward balance is well known. But sometimes you get circumstances that go beyond the expected and maybe we need to set up a safety net of some sort right now.

The recent experience with Dairy Farmers draws some parallels. Dairy Farmers are in an industry that needs to adjust to change and it can be argued that adjusting hasn't been done soon enough. However the recent price reductions in wholesale milk and the ridiculous attempt at back dating those price reductions were a step too far. Governments and the community are coming to grips with the problem and it would appear that Dairy Farmers are starting to get some consideration for their plight.

Dairy Farmers have openly talked about their woes. Emotional and financial hardships are being clearly and publicly exhibited . But are we seeing that sort of openess  at QVM? Traders will talk to their neighbours about the general state of business but what about the deeper discussions? Do we really expect traders to open up to Market Officers or officials of our Property Department if they are in severe financial difficulty or are just not coping with the stress and anxiety. And if they don't open up there, where do they go?

Clearly we need a strategy – talking is really good and hopefully every trader has someone they can confide in either within the trader body or their own family or community. But we probably need more than that, and this is just the start of a bigger discussion.

by Greg Smith - QVMAC Trader Representative.

Have Your Say – click here.

Thursday 26 May 2016

QVM To Be Home To New TV Series

Earlier this week our CEO, Malcolm McCullough, advised that an exciting promotional opportunity will be announced at 12:30 today and we can now reveal that The Queen Victoria will be home to a new national TV show called My Market Kitchen.

The new cooking series will air weekdays on Network 10 and celebrate fresh produce and market life. It will be filmed on location at QVM and hosted by 2013 Master Chef winner, Emma Dean and runner up Lynton Tapp. Filming will start later this month.

Traders will feature in some of the segments to highlight seasonal produce as well as share their tips and tricks for everyone watching live at the market and on the TV. General footage of the market will be featured throughout the show, particularly in the opening and closing segments as well as lead into and out of commercial breaks. The new series is expected to reach 500,000 people per week. Ninety episodes will air for 18 weeks, with the "My Market Kitchen" launching later in the year.

"Food is about people and QVM has both."

"I am so excited to be filming in the Queen Victoria Market - this market means so much to me. I have been coming here for 20 years because of its variety, vibrancy and freshness! I can't wait to delve deeper into store holder's stories, and learning even more about their history and produce. Food is about people and QVM has both." - Emma Dean, Masterchef winner 2013.

My Market Kitchen commences filming next Monday.

Monday 23 May 2016

QVM Wins Bid For International Markets Conference

The Queen Victoria market and Melbourne (Wholesale Market Authority have been successful in a joint bid to host the international congress for the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) in September 2017.

The announcement was made over the weekend at the WUWM conference in Lublin, Poland. Melbourne’s combination of a new wholesale market at Epping and the impending renewal of QVM was seen as a clincher for the location of the next conference.

This will be a major event for Melbourne with an anticipated 400-500 national and international delegates attending the conference to be primarily hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre at South Wharf.  During the course of the conference, delegates will also be visiting QVM and the wholesale markets in Epping to better understand more about the respective redevelopment and/or renewal of each site.

QVM Chairman, Paul Guerra, said “This congress couldn’t happen at a more exciting time for Melbourne and the Queen Victoria Market. We’re about to embark on a renewal program that will preserve and celebrate the market’s history and authentic atmosphere while allowing the market precinct to evolve to meet contemporary needs of traders, customers and our growing city. The congress presents a great opportunity to showcase Melbourne’s great markets while learning and sharing with other industry experts around the world”.

Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Latest Retail News – 22/5/2016

Latest Retail News – 22/5/2016
1. Lego promotion at Perth shopping centre generates huge PR response.
2. Lord of the Fries opens 11th store in Sydney.
3. Over 1,000 Melbourne CBD stores take part in Shop The City promotion commencing 18th May.
4. Companies becoming insolvent up 18% largely in mining and retail.
5. Government plans to extend GST on online purchases to any overseas business turning over more than $75,000 p.a.
6. Gucchi and Michael Kors quit International Anti-counterfeiting Council over admission of Alibaba.
7. 7-Eleven axes independent claims panel as wage claims escalate.
8. Nike and Stylerunner take out top customer service awards.
9. Disney sales disappoint share market.
10. Country Road asks design students to create winning shop windows.
11. Cotton On opens its biggest flagship store in South Africa.
12. DFO adds 22 retailers to South Wharf re-development.
13. Google faces massive European fine for promoting its own retail services in preference to others.
14. A cheese made in Nowra for Aldi wins Australia’s best cheese award.
15. Cash withdrawals from ATMs fall as consumers choose card transactions.
16. Coles new milk brand will push 20c/litre into independent dairy industry fund.
17. Softer sales for Beacon Lighting.
18. Alibaba suspended from International Anti-counterfeiting Council.
19. Nordstrom reveals disappointing first quarter results.
20. JB HiFi considers takeover of Good Guys.
21. Coca Cola says Federal election not helping business.
22. Myer to close Wollongong and Orange stores in NSW.

Speaking From Our Wallets

Trader Representatives get a pretty good picture of  trader moods and it usually ranges from measured interest when times are OK to almost manic anger when times are tough.

Traders speak through their wallets and there is nothing wrong with that. We also generally react to today’s business with little sympathy for long term trends. We can contend with a poor day when the next day shows hope of an improvement but there are times when that seems a remote possibility.

The Federal election appears to be having a negative impact on retail sales right now. Data (ANZ – Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index) tells us that in fact Federal elections don’t impact greatly on longer term consumer confidence although there may be some deferment of spending until after a poll.

Trying to be logical and understanding when your takings are down, and there are bills to pay, is not easy. Venting with your Trader Representatives and your neighbours is probably a healthy activity but maybe we need to keep that from our customers – they have enough to worry about.

The Chairman of Ibisworld recently stated that shoppers tend to take a “wait and see approach” during elections and that seems to be what is happening right now. So, in turn perhaps we traders need to “wait and see”. Next Thursday’s announcement of a special promotion at QVM will be a very interesting ingredient in the whole picture.

Editors Note: A couple of days ago the Managing Director of Coca Cola Australia said - “There’s probably no doubt that an election and a prolonged election campaign doesn’t help either – it’s very common in most consumer businesses that that adds to uncertainty.”

Exciting Announcement At QVM

Traders have received a letter advising of an announcement next Thursday 26th May concerning an important promotional activity and plan for the market.

Some traders have expressed concern at the timing of the announcement (during trading hours) however, if you cannot make it down to Queen St., we are confident that the news will spread quickly and you will be able to read about it on these pages by the evening.

Have Your Say - click here.

Friday 20 May 2016

Myer And Ebay Join On Virtual Reality Shopping

Myer and Ebay have announced a joint effort to introduce consumers to high technology virtual reality shopping although there are some doubts about the convenience of the process.

Essentially shoppers use a virtual reality viewer to look at a carousel of products (up to 12,500 according to Myer) and you choose as you go. The viewer could be one of the highend varieties available from company's like Samsung or a simple cheap cardboard version which eBay and Myer are making available for free. Download an app on to your phone, insert your phone in the viewer, and away you go.

Whether holding a viewer to your head with one hand is going to be more convenient than traditional mouse or keyboard navigation on a larger screen remains to be seen. Some early adopters have complained of lag as they attempt to activate a product or button by simply looking at them, but these are early days and the process is certainly innovative.

Good News And Bad News On Federal Election

It is official, parliamentary elections can have a significant impact on consumer confidence and retail sales, but it may be good or may be bad and it may reverse after an election.

We don't need to tell QVM traders that the current Federal election campaign seems to be impacting adversely on sales. Consumers listening to constant arguing and bickering between rival candidates, hearing the tales of doom if one party wins the election, and generally being subjected to negative, cynical news can hardly be blamed for putting a clamp on their spending.

Some elections are characterised by grandiose promises that actually boost consumer confidence but then when reality sets in after the election that can reverse. Other elections are characterised by fear campaigns that dampen confidence before an election, but then when a clear direction emerges, particularly if there is a new leader, the confidence rises.

A mid year campaign is considered good for retail rather than at Christmas when dampened confidence has a bigger impact. Deutsche Bank has said that Federal elections on average are not good for retail but the impact is pretty much 50/50 over the longer term. Myer has claimed that the election will impact on third quarter sales and Qantas is blaming the election on reduced bookings with travellers not wanting to be away during the voting process.

So, with an apparent negative impact in the lead up to the election lets hope for a clear result that gives consumers the confidence to go out and shop immediately after the July poll.

Have Your Say - click here.

Why The Dairy Farmers Plight Means So Much To Traders

Australia’s dairy farmers are going through tough times and in fact that is an understatement because the latest round of cuts in the price of milk have made many farms unprofitable. There is something we can do about that.

It shoudn’t be a surprise that traders at QVM have some affinity with dairy farmers. We are both small business operators (often family operated) experiencing tough times due to market forces (in our case a retail recession). It has been said that over supply is a big problem for the dairy industry and traders in the top end of QVM in categories that are over represented know what that can mean.

The long term answers for the dairy industry lie in a new model. They will need to rearrange their production and supply chains. In fact we are told that their whole business model will need reassessing. It sounds a bit like a renewal for the dairy industry and I apologise for once again drawing a parallel with our QVM experience.

In fact the two are quite different. Dairy farmers have a sudden perfect storm of difficulty caused by the decision to cut milk prices below sustainability levels. Apparently there has even been an attempt to backdate the price reduction leaving some farmers with heavy debts. The milk industry, including the dairy farmers, need to take responsibility for the effective management of their industry but the suddenness and the depth of this latest dilemma has caused many people to abandon blame and look for some short term relief that will allow measured correction over time.

According to the Herald Sun we can all help by buying Australian milk products from names like Bulla, Farmers Union and Gippsland Dairy. According to The Project on TV last night, most Australians don’t get their required daily intake of dairy products so that is a good excuse to go out and buy more local cheese and yoghurt. Those measures are a great way to help farmers and of course what better place to buy those items than The Queen Victoria Market - Australia’s best source of specialty dairy products.

Sunday 15 May 2016

The Hidden Promotion of QVM

Radio, newspaper and TV advertising are traditional forms of promotion that are instantly recognisable and generally available to most observers. But social media is a little more personal and takes place without everybody necessarily knowing that it is happening.

Facebook is available to most although it is directed at a different clientel and many traders probably don't view it regularly. The QVM Facebook activity is going on continuously in the background and recently featured an excellent series on Mum's at
work at QVM.

Direct mailouts (email) are another component of direct contact with customers and once again, many traders may not have seen this form of promotion. Well, here is a direct online link to what customers are receiving - direct email link. The email on this occasion featured activities at the market and a special accomodation/tour offer for visitors.

As social media and direct online communication become more integral to retail marketing we can expect QVM to grow its customer database and maximise the value of this "hidden" promotion.

Have Your Say - click here.

New Trader Elections To Benefit Traders

The new trader election system to be released this week will provide significant improvements in the way traders contribute to renewal. We encourage you to attend one of the short information sessions that will be conducted by traders on Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th, or Thursday 19th (2 sessions) this coming week.

Two key aspects of trader involvement will benefit from the formation of the new Trader Representative Committee. 
- Firstly, traders will elect 27 representatives which will spread the workload and enable us to be more professional in our information gathering, analysis, and presentation to QVM and other relevant bodies. 
- Secondly, having 2 representatives in each of 13 new market precincts will enhance the communication chain. Traders know how difficult it can be to leave your stall/shop to pursue issues at the office or with a representative at the other end of the market. Having two representatives in your aisle/hall or an adjoining aisle/hall can only assist that process.

There is more to learn about how this new system will work and how you can participate. Short information sessions will be conducted by trader representatives at the Engagement Hub 452 Queen St. as follows -
     - Tuesday 17th May 2016 - 2:30pm.
     - Wednesday 18th May 2016 - 10:30am.
     - Thursday 19th May 2016 - 2:30pm.
     - Thursday 19th May 2016 - 3:30pm.

If possible we would like you to book in advance by phone or email - to 03 9320 5822, or by personal attendance at the offices in deli lane or shop F1.

Join your fellow traders in creating a better market.

Our Market Is Big

At this week's Planning Panel meetings concerning QVM precinct planning controls, Professor Rob Adams made a presentation that included many fascinating aspects of the role of QVM in the fabric of our wonderful city.

A couple of slides concerned the size of our market and it is huge by comparison with a number of significant local and overseas places of retail. The overhead view of our city which takes in a panorama extending right out to Port Phillip shows clearly the significant footprint that we occupy. 

And when you compare QVM with the size of local and international markets we are certainly a standout.

Have Your Say - click here.

Heritage Tram Cafe for QVM?

An application has been made to place a converted Melbourne tram outside the State Library in Swanston St to operate as a cafe. The inclusion of our iconic trams in the Melbourne streetscape would seem to make sense and where better to locate a piece of Melbourne history than at the historic Queen Victoria Market?

According to the Herald-Sun our market is on the list of possible sites for tram cafes.

Customers Love Our Market

While a war of words goes on about renewal, glowing customer reviews of our market continue to surface. Here are some over the last few days on Trip Advisor.

“A box of 12 young coconut is just $5. I shared with other buyer because I couldn't carry that much. I spent $1 for a kg of nice potatoes. There are many restaurants in / near the markets. You can get many interesting things that can't find in the department store.”

“I spent hours in this place, they have everything you could ever want from clothes to food & all sort of goods, great place for shopping & eating, a must if you are in Melbourne.”

“I walked around the place on Wed afternoon. Only a few cafe remains open. A big empty car park place. But on Fri morning onwards, the place was transformed to a bustling place. I had hefty big breakfast with coffee at Le Crossiont, sat on the Elizabeth street and watched people going about. Very nice.”

“You haven't been to Melbourne if you haven't been here! Great place to eat, drink and shop classic Australian and frequent shows and events. In the summer they have a night market which you must go to with an empty stomach. Delicious food and an overwhelming selection.”

“Having come from the north of England I am rather fond of a good market, this one will not disappoint you can pick up some great bargains and souvenirs. The food hall is also interesting to visit.”

So for many visitors, particularly tourists, the QVM is a wonderful place. What traders need is for more customers to come and for those who have stopped coming to find good reason to come back. That is going to require some significant investment.

16/05/2016 17:27:02 Some Customers Hate our Market "Its great to hear all the good comments about the Market but I should also point out there is many bad ones as well!!!I Would like to know if someone from the Management could tell me what to say to all the customers that have asked me what has happened to the market.Why all the empty stalls and the market looks so bad to  previous past visits.One customer commented to me that it looks like it has a bad cancer and is dying!!! I have to agree !!So sad to keep hearing comments like that from customers that will probably never come back again and also spread the word to their friends as well!!! "

Perhaps those customers don't hate our market but hate what is happening to it, and we can sympathise with that. It doesn't help much, but we are simply suffering the same problems that a multitude of retail centres across the globe are experiencing. Consumer preferences are changing for many complex reasons and adjusting to them (greater convenience, easier access, more services) is going to take time and resources. Luckily we have a renewal on our doorstep. I guess you tell your customers that we are in the process of adjusting to changing needs and we will respond in a very positive manner as we have always done. - Ed

Friday 13 May 2016

Design Concepts For QVM

Over the years there have been a variety of design concept drawings for QVM including this one on the left to build a glass tower over the food halls. Fortunately it didn’t get any traction.

Concept drawings are very useful for creating discussion around design concepts and there has been no shortage of ideas when it comes to QVM. Over the years we have seen drawings that show for instance a two storey office facility at the top of A&B sheds on Peel St. presumably to house market staff. Then there was the drawing that showed a building on String Bean Alley which had trees growing on the top floor, and a drawing of glass shrouds over the car park.

But the latest concept drawing (see below) is particularly relevant because it was presented at a Planning Panel meeting in the past week and it includes a building on the Munro site. It also shows possible treatment at the southern end of the market including the retention of the Franklin St. storage sheds.

Like all concept drawings it is not clear if all or any of the components will be part of a future QVM but it does raise a number of discussion points. We expect to see the first renewal proposals sometime next month and in the meantime perhaps we can start thinking about possible scenarios including those depicted in this drawing.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Mother's Day Celebrations

As our photo shows working on Mother's Day doesn't stop some trader Mum's from celebrating this important day under the sheds with the time honoured accompaniment of coffee and chocolate cakes. Well deserved!

Monday 9 May 2016

Sundays Are The New Food Day

Our Marketing Director, Mark Smith, identified customer visitation changes in our food halls in the latest Trader Bulletin. Sunday's have now become the second most visited day of the week at QVM and according to a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Sunday's are now the most important day in super markets as the big boys battle it out for market share.

Apparently Sunday is the day for the big spenders, the value shoppers, and supermarkets regard it as a critical day for getting everything right on the shop floor. That is the day that the shelves need to be full and the checkouts manned which might explain why the industry is so keen on getting rid of Sunday penalty rates.

There is no question that customer service is a high priority for Coles and Woolworths (and everybody else for that matter). The trend to smaller, more frequent shoping has its challenges and keeping the offer fresh at all times becomes a major priority, particularly on Sunday's. The traditional day of rest is no more when it comes to food shopping. 

If Sunday traffic at QVM increased 7% in 2014/15 then Mark Smith is right - this is just another example of the need to view changes in customer behaviour with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. 

Saturday 7 May 2016

Latest Retail News – 7/5/2016

Latest Retail News – 7/5/2016
1. Victorian menswear brand, Mr. Simple, opens at Melbourne Airport.
2. Woolworths plans to hire 1600 indigenous workers.
3. Roy Morgan Research says fewer Australians eating sweet biscuits.
4. Woolworths sale decline nearly 1% in third quarter.
5. Retailers welcome tax cuts in Federal Budget for small business.
6. H&M announce two new stores at Pacific Werribee and Chadstone.
7. New owner, Kogan, relaunches Dick Smith online.
8. DFO to open at Perth Airport.
9. UK footwear retailer fined for claiming Ugg boots made in Australia.
10. Woolworths criticised for promoting vacuum cleaners as ideal Mother’s Day gift.
11. Convenience store growth outpaces general grocery category.
12. Uniqlo surprises 25 shoppers with mystery flight to Gold Coast to promote new Pacific Fair store.
13. New report identifies changing Aussie food trends. Click here.
14. March retail figures suggest nervous customers.
15. Australia’s first Lego store to open on Gold Coast.
16. Eastland set to expand – again.
17. Lindt to open new chocolate store at Harbour Town on Gold Coast.
18. ACCC successful in action against egg price cartel.
19. Major milk processors and distributors slash milk prices in blow to dairy farmers.
20. Kelloggs sales decline in US. 

The City of Melbourne's annual budget was released this week and QVM gets a big chunk of the expenditure.

The Council will raise $430 million in revenue with a surplus over $15 million, and is budgeting $8.45 million towards the Queen Victoria Market. Market renewal is the single biggest project in the city's history and council has set aside a special renewal reserve so that any funds from QVM will go into that reserve for the exclusive use of renewal. The income from QVM in the budget year is expected to be around $4 million.

QVM Inspires Hong Kong Market Discussion

An article in the South China Post has pointed out the value of Hong Kong markets to their declining tourism sector. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has been criticised for leaving parts of its fresh food wholesale markets empty.
The article proposed turning empty space into weekend markets featuring gourmet and organic foods and handcrafts. “These weekend markets have proved to be a successful tourist magnet in other cities. Each one I have visited has had its own unique qualities, for example, Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Borough Market in London, and Salamanca Market in Hobart, Tasmania.”
The article went on to say “A market can be much more than the city’s fresh-food shopping mecca – it can also be a historic landmark. Queen Victoria Market is a case in point.”

Hong Kong has long been recognised for the number of markets, the variety of goods on display, and the huge crowds, particularly at their night markets. It is interesting that Hong Kong hopes to draw inspiration from QVM as they look to enhance their tourist offer.

Have Your Say - click here.

Friday 6 May 2016

Bruce Goose Gets Exposure From CoM

Following is a blurb from the City of Melbourne promoting the upcoming Lord Mayors Commendations for small business. As you can see the promotional opportunities from participating in these awards are significant. The general recognition of traders is all part of the process and it is as simple as making application direct to the CoM - click here. 
And besides, after trading at QVM for 10 years or more, you deserve recognition. You have until 20th May to be part of the 2016 commendations..

Celebrating Bruce Pham, Bruce Goose Pty Ltd
2014 Bronze Commendation Recipient
The iconic Queen Victoria Market has nurtured some of Melbournes favourite retailers and Bruce Pham is no exception. Bruce learnt the ropes helping his parents as a young teenager and joined the family business on a full-time basis at 18 years of age.
The market stall has evolved over the years but the quality has not, providing Melburnians with the finest Australian made woollen, cotton and bamboo socks.
Bruce Pham is eligible for a Silver commendation in 2016

Twenty five years in five minutes
with bruce pham

Twenty five years in business is no small feat, what is your favourite part of the job?
Meeting different characters from around the world.
What has been some of the biggest changes/challenges you have seen in 25 years?
The emergence of the internet and online trading. Physical stores, shops and stalls must create and provide a great shopping and personalised experience to customers.
Have you noticed a change to visitors to the QVM?
More and more interstate and overseas visitors. The downside is that we are finding a lot less local people coming to QVM. Car parking is becoming very expensive.
Piece of advice that you would offer to a new starter in the business world?
Be serious and passionate about what you set out to achieve. Remember the quote, "What if?" Have a lot of back up plans.
What would you still like to achieve?
Create more functional, comfortable, natural fibre socks that are vibrant.


Operations Around Our Market

In a public market the size of QVM you can imagine that a multitude of different operational functions go on everyday. We reported recently about the monthly Friday Operations Catch-ups that are linking Trader Representatives and operations staff as they share information and decision making on a variety of issues.

Our aim on Victraders will be to bring you a brief summary of some of those issues on a weekly basis. They will just be summaries but if the subject interests you or you feel you need to know more about them, then we suggest you talk to your Trader Representatives, Market Officers, or staff at the office locations at Shop F1 or in the Deli Lane.

C Shed Special Markets - top walkway to Peel St. - The markets planned for Saturday 7th May and 21st May have been cancelled. That area will be available for normal casuals on those two Saturdays.

Parking In RK/RL On Tuesdays and Thursdays - traders have raised issues with vehicles blocking access aisles which has implications for normal market movements but also safety concerns in an emergency. A procedure will be introduced to stop indiscriminate parking. 

Meat Hall (Fishmongers) -  a procedure for removing rubbish from fishmongers premises so that it is out of public view is being discussed with those traders.

Box Hire - Emergency Removal - traders who miss the cut off point for cancelling boxes due to a genuine emergency will now have access to a new procedure that will limit costs.

Late Pack-up - Wearing of Vests - traders or their workers who are completing pack downs will be required to wear high visibility vests after a certain time.

Hanging Products in Aisles - it is unlikely that this practice can continue given global security concerns and the importance of unobstructed vision for CCTV cameras. Traders will receive formal notification.

Stall Spreading Procedure - this matter has progressed with a sub-committee of traders currently considering options. 

Have Your Say - click here.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

Leave Our Market Alone

“Leave our market alone” is a phrase often used against our market owners and managers but I am a trader who wants to use it against the meddlers and do-gooders who don’t really understand the need for change at QVM.

Yesterdays Herald Sun reported on plans to renew the Queen Victoria Market and the online comments from individuals at the end of the article were dominated by themes like “Leave our market alone, “Don’t change what’s not broken”, or “Tell the experts to stay out of our market”. How do traders tell these people that we don’t want the market left alone, our market is broken, and we do want resources and expert advice so we can do something about it.

One of the biggest complaints you will hear from traders is that the market has been neglected for at least the last 20 years. Virtually no resources have been put back into the market other than to maintain the status quo. In the meantime the GFC and a subsequent retail revolution have taken their toll. Trader takings have dwindled, traders have left, we have big gaps in some of our aisles (A Shed) and, for many, the future is not looking very bright. Retail decline is not the fault of the owners or managers, but market neglect certainly hasn't helped.

Fortunately the City of Melbourne has seen the error in its ways and plans to spend up to $250m making us better.  They also want to grant us World Heritage status. So why do meddlers and do-gooders object? Let’s examine a few possibilities. One is that they are meddlers who like nothing better than to complain, particularly if it is a chance to have a go at city hall. Secondly they are traditionalists who want to come back to the same market, in the same way, and under the same conditions as they have for years. If all our customers were like that we would not have a problem. Unfortunately many of our customers have moved on to alternatives. They have gone to more convenient local shops or online and we need to encourage them back or find replacements. I would like to think that the biggest group simply want to support our traders and feel that preventing change will help and, let's face it, some of those changes may be unpalatable in the short term. Bless them for their concern, but unfortunately doing nothing is not the answer for QVM.

Traders don’t want drastic change. We don’t want wholesale changes to heritage buildings. We don’t want changes that make us look like another shopping centre. We don’t want anything that will work against that essential core ingredient of our market – the ingredient that makes us great – the multitude of small independent businesses. And those businesses will need special care particularly during any construction works. But we do need better facilities. We do need ways to make it easier for our customers to shop. We do need leadership in areas of store and stall presentation, trading hours, and the use of technology. We do need resources to help us become the best we can be.

We want to retain the authentic nature of the market and respect its heritage. Fortunately they are the exact words that Professor Rob Adams, the council’s city design expert, used in his presentation to a planning panel yesterday here in Melbourne. No trader is going to give QVM or the CoM the freedom to do what they want at our market without our input. But until potential options are revealed (that is expected to start next month) we are all just guessing.

It is not unreasonable for traders to respect the abilities of city designers who have made Melbourne the world’s most liveable city. We can wait eagerly for their options to renew our market and we will critically review each of those as key stakeholders at QVM. In the meantime it would be preferable for the do-gooders to stay out of the arguments and just keep on shopping at the market. That is all the support we need from them right now.

By Greg Smith