Tuesday 17 April 2018

Stop Making QVM A Political Bouncing Ball

According to the Herald-Sun overnight, Lord Mayor hopeful’s pollster Gary Morgan, and academic Sally Warhaft, want to make the upcoming city election all about stopping QVM development.

When are these people going to get it? Our market can’t be left as it is. It is slowly failing. We need professionally designed adjustment to meet the needs of consumers in 2018 and beyond. Fortunately the CoM has high level professional designers on the job.

There is a plan for recovery, and yes, it will be done within a traditional building framework. The city is going to carefully dismantle, repair, and re-install heritage sheds so they will last another 140 years for goodness sakes. In the process they will at last offer a work safe environment for traders and customers. The only substantial changes above ground will be a lift well occupying the space of approximately 3 double stalls, an underground access ramp for vehicles, and thicker roofing panels to offer some heat protection in summer. Check out the artist’s impression showing how the market will look from Peel St. after the renewal. Does that look like a market destroyed?

What will destroy our market is traders leaving because the market is no longer relevant to consumers. No consumers, means no business, means no market. We need to show consumers that we are relevant to modern shopping, will be available when they want to shop, can safely offer fresh, clean, well stored produce, and can even engage in online access. And of course we will do all that with the continuing ace card of professional personal service from stallholders.

The New Market Pavilion although temporary will be a great marketing tool. Showcasing our best products, and experimenting with things like trading hours, produce presentation and a whole range of sensible innovations for one of the world’s great markets. We can pretend that there isn’t a global retail revolution going on or we can grasp this opportunity to showcase what we can do.

Traders have been screaming for greater promotion of our market. What we have can only be flogged so many ways. What we can offer with improved facilities, a showcase pavilion and a bit of innovation, has great potential.

This is not about destroying our market, it is about making it more relevant to modern consumers, and ensuring the one thing (and probably the only thing) that will protect QVM into the future – strong business based relevance to modern shoppers. 

The changes proposed by CoM are modest. It would be nice if all these outside voices could grasp the business reality of trading at an old market in the middle of new consumerism. The very thing they are trying to save is at risk from their “do nothing” attitude.

By Greg Smith (39 years trading at QVM)