During an interview with one of our fresh food traders a few years ago I asked how he handled the 3:00am starts and 15 hour working days. He said that the money he made was more than adequate compensation. That equation just doesn’t work when times are tough as many Specialty traders are finding out.
Setting up and tearing down you display is a daily chore for most traders in the Upper Market. Four hours of your working day can involve simply packing and un-packing stock and display equipment. Many traders employ staff just for that purpose but when you pack-up staff make more profit than you on some days (a real occurence for some traders) then you seriously question the equation.
One trader made the observation that removing packing and un-packing would give them up to an extra 15 hours per week for dedicating to more productive work like alternative income sources.
PODS like the test facility in C Shed have provided a tantalising glimpse into what more permanent structures could offer, but any progress on modular permanent stalls seems to have, well, stalled.
QuadPods (a modular stall arrangement similar to what is found in the Night Market) offered a simpler, less time-consuming stall arrangement, and was well received by traders, but once again we have seen no action. We understand that management has some reservations about introducing disruptive new arrangements with renewal around the corner. It is a matter of timing.
QVM is a great open-air market, with some wonderful traditional practices, but the only thing that really guarantees everybody’s future is profitable trading for traders. Minimising un-productive labour (un-packing and packing) will rightly become a focus for some traders as they adjust to the current trading climate and the imposition of renewal. Either they reduce the complexity of their display, seek a more permanent trading facility or pull the plug. Let’s hope it is not the last option.