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 - https://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/travel-food/article/3006752/9-best-food-markets-around-world-barcelona-bangkok

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.

Retail Articles Worth A Read – 21/4/2019

Are your kids going to grow up to be entrepreneurs just like you? Well, here is some advice if you want to make sure that happens - https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/stop-saying-these-4-words-to-your-kids-if-you-want-them-to-grow-up-to-be-entrepreneurs.html

Ikea wants to reinvent itself as a circular company where it takes control of its products from manufacturing, through retailing, and finally to its end of life disposal. https://www.fastcompany.com/90328244/inside-ikeas-plan-to-reinvent-itself-as-a-circular-company

As retail sales fall it is not just retailers that take a hit. This article takes a look at the serious impact on the transport industry. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/retail-catches-cold-transport-prepares-flu-brendan-richards/

Google delivery drones get green light to start deliveries in Australia. https://www.insideretail.com.au/news/google-delivery-drones-cleared-for-take-off-in-australia-201904#daily

So you have a website – is it really effective? – does it ask for action? - https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/331930

A small robotics company created this retail device that Walmart have just put into 350 stores. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/bossa-nova-robot-walmart-uses-2019-4?r=US&IR=T

KFC and Reject Shop join forces to combat abuse of Shop Staff by customers. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-19/customer-always-right-mantra-dropped-as-retail-abuse-rampant/11029236

Neiman Marcus looks at second hand market for luxury goods. http://fortune.com/2019/04/17/neiman-marcus-luxury/

Shark Tank is blamed for a drop in American entrepreneurship. https://www.inc.com/brian-hamilton/shark-tank-blame-american-entrepreneurship-decline.html

A retail store chain called Five Below is setting new profitability standards in US. https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/04/17/7-reasons-five-below-sets-gold-standard-for-retail.aspx

Latest Retail News – 21/4/2019

Latest Retail News – 21/4/2019
1. NRA backs plastic bag ban.
2. Nestle makes big move in plant based meat market.
3. Ikea to open first small format store in Sydney in May.
4. Woolworths and Aldi increase market share while Coles and IGA go back a little.
5. Woolworths expands its “on demand” delivery service.
6. Private investment firm takes over control of Napoleon Perdis cosmetics group.
7. Debenhams goes into administration.
8. Walmart hires army of robots for some basic store functions.
9. Google’s first delivery drone gets go ahead in Australia.
10. Mountain Designs re-launches its online offer with help from Anaconda.
11. Levis plan to open 100 new stores in US this year.
12. Oxfam is closing its retail, wholesale, and e-commerce operations.
13. Uniqlo cuts outlook following heavy discounting.
14. Darrell Lea to relaunch Lifesavers sweets brand in Australia.
15. Beauty giant, Mecca, opens 100th Australian/NZ store in Adelaide.
16. Appliance discounter, 2nds World, falls into liquidation.
17. David Jones publishes supplier list as part of its sustainability commitment.
18. Retail crime causes supermarkets to tighten up cash register exits.
19. Radio Rentals closing all stores in South Australia.

Committee of Trustees Considers Some Weighty Market Issues

At its meeting on 9th April the following key strategic issues were considered by the Committee of Trustees.

Market Square
• The Committee discussed the development of a Charter to guide the uses and design of Market Square.
• The Committee is excited about the opportunity Market Square represents for the market precinct and broader community.
• It advised that the uses should bring more customers to the market and complement trading, and supported arts, culture and daily activity uses.
• It noted this space would service 24,000 new residents expected over the next two decades and help activate the north of the City in new ways.

Review of Market Trading Hours
• The Committee advised smoothing operating hours to make it manageable for traders and easier for the public would be welcomed.
• It supported a transition in two stages: initial reposition and smooth hours for first year. Further refinement in following years as customer demands evolve.

Trader Tenure, Lease and Licensing
• The Committee advised QVM that providing traders with clarity, certainty, goodwill and transparency as important.
• It supported lease timeframe options that are relative to coinvestment commitment. • It also supported staggering of licence and licensing renewal process, having regard to the staging of renewal works and beyond.
• It noted that flexibility and adaptability is also an important offering for start-up business.

The Queen Victoria Market Committee of Trustees (Committee) provides the highest source of strategic advice to the Melbourne City Council (Council) on both the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Program (QVMRP) and Queen Victoria Market (‘QVM’) operations.

Its purpose is to ensure a broad range of views are considered and to advise the Council on matters of strategic importance to the renewal or trading operations of the QVM. Chaired by the Lord Mayor, the Committee is comprised of 13 members, including market traders, community representatives, independent nominees and Councillors.

QVM In The News - 21/4/2019

Queen Victoria Market traders are angry at being booted out of prized stall sites where ... QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET REVAMP PLANS REVEALED.
... anomalies including the 60kmh zones in busy pedestrian areas near the city such as on Victoria and Peel streets near the Queen Victoria Market.
The Queen Victoria market, also known as Vic market is located in one of the business districts of Melbourne. Impressive age of the market – over 130 ...
In a sea of fabulous seafood stalls at the Queen Vic Market, Happy Tuna always stands out for its fresh fish and excellent advice on how to cook it.
Melbourne ditches carpark for public park A new public park will replace the open-air carpark at Queen Victoria Market under the latest proposed ...
The Friends of Queen Victoria Market said the state protection would bring it in line with the borders under the national protection announced last July.
The City of Melbourne has submitted a new plan for a redesign of Queen Victoria Market that seeks to maximise trader and customer experience while ...
Not only did they cause disruption by blocking major intersections in Melbourne, they also targeted small businesses in Queen Victoria Market, as well ...
On Saturday hundreds of animal rights activists rallied outside Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne as part of a global protest calling for an end to ...
... end to slaughterhouses, and comes after hundreds of animal rights activists rallied on Saturday outside Queen Victoria Market, also in Melbourne.
... of animal rights activists rallied on Saturday, as part of a global protest, calling for an end to slaughterhouses outside Queen Victoria Market.
About 500 protesters marched in an anti-clockwise route around the outskirts of the Queen Victoria Market on Saturday, with a speech and ...
Step into Gew├╝rzhaus (in Carlton The Block Arcade, Chadstone and Queen Victoria Market) and your nose will thank you. The fragrant spice ...
The Victorian march will coincide with other rallies across the world, ... an anti-clockwise route around the outskirts of the Queen Victoria Market, with a ...

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Heard Under The Sheds - 14/4/2019

A Trader says that we are currently sorting the real traders from the good time traders. “How a trader reacts in tough times and adapts to adversity is the real measure of a market trader.”

A trader says he experienced a different kind of American tourist this week. “Apart from the accent they could have come from next door”. We will leave you to work out what he meant.

Good reports from the first Europa Night Market. A number of traders commented on a great atmosphere particularly from the live music, a family friendly environment, and seemingly a lot of new faces.

A trader says he loves the way that summer keeps on giving even well into April - “Winter fashion will have to wait a bit longer.”

With all this focus on customer convenience one of our traders decided to introduce a subsidised delivery service. It was particularly aimed at interstate customers. He put stickers on his more bulky items offering Australia Post delivery across Australia for flat rates ranging from $8 - $15. That was about 3 weeks ago. Take up since? - zip, nada, zilch. He is re-thinking that strategy and admits to being a little confused.

Has anyone sighted the customer who says he is coming back later?

A trader says he likes the Easter promotion that has special stickers at selected stalls around the market. Customers follow a trial around the market and mark off sticker locations as they go. This trader has gained direct sales as a result but says it is all about generating positive family fun for the kids and a good experience at QVM.

A different perspective from one trader who says he feels sorry for customers in tough times - “They are weighed down by bills, unstable work environments and now a bloody government election. Who’d want to be a consumer right now?”

Speaking of tough times, apparently a number of our stall assemblers and helpers have found themselves out of work as stallholders take back some of the more mundane tasks just to save money.

And finally, the sort of news every trader wants to hear – one of our traders did so well with the Sri-Lanka Festival crowd on Sunday that he sold out of produce and couldn’t serve last minute customers. That is the sort of problem we all want.

Trader Comment On J Shed Shading

11/4/2019 12:32 - "We the traders in the eastern side of the J shed would like to bring to the attention of the management that the shade cloth which was removed from glass has been done without any information or consultation with us.
removing the above shade cloths is severely affecting the health of the traders and their employees, discolouring and in some cases melting the products and making them worthless. Also very impotently the customers are getting frustrated with the sun rays and leaving the stall without even looking at the merchandise.
I hope the management come themselves and see this problems facing the J shed traders,and put the shade back on the glasses. We were told that it has been removed for the winter months, but the sun rays is getting so harsh even in winter, that some of the traders are getting sick and head aches including the other problems mentioned above. "
Thank you for your comment - Ed.

Have Your Say - click here.

New Video Summarises Latest Renewal Plans

Competition May Not Always Be Healthy

It is said that competition is a key ingredient in retail. But in its rawest form competition can be destructive and like many things retail perhaps a more sophisticated approach is desirable here.

A trader recently expressed concern at increasing competition within the market. His concern is that key products in his range are being cherry-picked by new traders and heavily discounted. Selecting a limited range, perhaps compromising on quality, and then buying in volume can bring price reductions, but at what cost?

Our established trader carries a broad range of goods, insists on top quality, and backs up with a range of services including, website, social media engagement and a variety of delivery options.

Of course some competition can be healthy, and after all we are a market, but is a rush to the bottom doing us any favours?

Shopping centres carefully curate their offer, and yes there is strong competition, but it is more about complimentary competition. In other words, varying the offer so that it broadens rather than creates sameness. Retailers are selected for the niche they have carved in the retail framework, rather than just their ability to sell the same thing at a cheaper price.

And then there are wholesalers many of whom understand the importance of a unique offer. If you want to stock the same product as another retailer in your immediate vicinity, you will be discouraged. Why kill the established retailers business with price based competition?

This is a complex issue. Maintaining a competitive offer while protecting the traders who have put in the hard work is not easy. It is easy to say “let competition take its course”. Perhaps a better way is to curate the offer so that each new trader adds to the total rather than cannibalises somebody else’s products. We all want financially successful traders who get reward for effort and feel they are part of the market family. There are enough headwinds from outside competition without adding internal ones.

By Greg Smith

New Market Square Is To Be A Crowd Drawer.

It was revealed in the latest QVM Renewal proposal that Market Square will be the name of the open space between QVM’s M Shed and Franklin St. The Square will be created once the current car park has been relocated, and it looks like it is going to be more than a simple park or garden.

As the name suggests, a square or piazza has connotations of a community gathering place and that means crowds, and we don’t need to explain how important crowds are to market trading.

A charter is to be drawn up to guide the use of this space, but one thing is certain - creating a substantial new space (bigger than Federation Square) will at last offer an alternative location for public events currently being held down at Southbank or on the Yarra.

Melbourne City North will have its own world class public activity space, and it is right next to our market.

Definition of Patience for Market Traders


the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

a market trader standing for hour after hour at his/her stall during tough economic times, answering endless questions, (most commonly “Will you be here next week?” or “Where are the toilets?), while working out how to meet rising business and living expenses, and avoiding the temptation of inappropriate distractions like mobile phone games, all with a smile, a nod, and complete denial of the utter boredom and frustrations of retailing when customers simply refuse to spend.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Questions On Car Parking

The latest renewal proposal has been approved by Council and one of the sticking points for traders has always been car parking.

The current car park is to be eventually converted to parkland but not before two alternative car parking facilities are built – 500 car parks under the Munro building, and up to 500 more in a new building at the Franklin Street end of the site. This could all take 6 years to complete. 

Concerns have been raised about the distance of the southern site on Franklin Street and also what impact moving the main parking down to Munro’s will have on general trading. Presumably it will be beneficial for the food halls but what will be the impact on the Upper Sheds? Fortunately 6 years is a good time span to measure and evaluate car parking trends. 

But some other questions have been raised by traders. Will the Munro parking (and the Franklin parking) be available to market customers or will it be commandeered by other city users?

Essentially traders want to be sure that every customer who wants to fill their boot with market goods is able to do so without too much inconvenience. There are ways of ensuring that market customers get preference and that may need attention as we move on with this project.

NOTE: a comment previously attached to this article has been published as a separate article under the title "Trader Comment On J Shed Shading".

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Heard Under The Sheds – 7/4/2019

An innovative non-plastic food wrapper using banana leaves is being used in Thai supermarkets. Thanks to the trader who sent this in.

A Trader says his worst nightmare occurred this week when he arrived at the market to find one of his neighbours had taken the day off. This trader sells bulky goods and has three large storage boxes which are too big to go on his stall so he relies on friendly neighbours with spare space to help out. If one of his neighbour doesn’t turn up he has a real problem.

Protestors 1 – a Trader says he found Saturday’s protestors (Anti-animal cruelty) were a good source of sales and he is wondering if this could be an un-tapped market for QVM. He agreed that advertising QVM as a good place to protest might just backfire. Protestors can be un-predictable.

Protestors 2 – just to prove the previous point an illegal protest occurred in the lower market on Sunday and police had to be called. The protestors were described as “Vegans protesting about slaughter houses.”

Lana’s back – when you are the only fabric seller in our market, your absence is noted. It is great to have Lana back after a minor medical procedure.

On the question of providing delivery services for customers, a trader has pointed out that there are serve yourself parcel posting machines available now. Imagine one of those within the market.

Plastic free movement grows - a trader points out that the Labour Party’s decision to ban all single use plastic bags adds a significant force to the current promotion by QVM to be plastic bag free from May 14th.

The new Europa Night Market starts on Wednesday with a modified footprint. Car-parking and cool-room storage will be placed at the Peel St. end of sheds J,K,L,M.

A Trader notes that the Book Market up at the Peel St. end of A Shed is still buzzing along each Sunday after a number of weeks and may be just the right fit for what has been a difficult trading spot.

A Trader wants to know if it is OK to roll your eyes when a customer asks for a discount on an already discounted item. Would that be considered part of the theatre or borderline rude? We reckon its theatre if done with a smile.

Have Your Say – click here.

Latest Retail News – 7/4/2019

Latest Retail News – 7/4/2019
1. Labour plans national bag ban.
2. ARA wants banks to do more on tap’n’go payment processing.
3. New retail offer at Sydney Airport strong on local brands.
4. Ethnic households spend more on Fruit & Veg than non-ethnic. 
5. Fashion house, Robert Cavalli, prepares to liquidate.
6. Big W to close 30 stores.
7. RFG struggles with sell-off plans.
8. Retail sales rise in February.
9. Athlete’s Foot’s new flagship store in Melbourne features 3D printing.
10. Heritage Victoria rejects Apple Store for Federation Square.

QVM In The News - 7/4/2019

About 500 protesters marched in an anti-clockwise route around the outskirts of the Queen Victoria Market on Saturday, with a speech and ...
Step into Gew├╝rzhaus (in Carlton The Block Arcade, Chadstone and Queen Victoria Market) and your nose will thank you. The fragrant spice ...
The City of Melbourne has announced new reinvigoration plans for the city's iconic Queen Victoria Market. The plans are primarily focused on ...
A looming change to planning laws in central Melbourne could scupper a key feature of the city council's latest attempt to redevelop Queen Victoria ...
The tortured, seven year process of trying to reach agreement on a facelift for the much loved but fading Queen Victoria Market reminds trader ...

QVM - A Productive Training Ground For Young Business Hopefuls

At QVM we should be proud of the grounding we have given to a number of successful business people.

There are many stories within our market of young aspiring business people who started as stall packers or shop assistants and went on to very successful careers.

At a recent social event we heard the story of a young student stall packer who displayed great working qualities and didn’t surprise his boss when he ended up as a partner at Price Cooper Waterhouse in New York.

Or the stall assistant who completed his business degree in Melbourne and went on to become Head of Finance at a large Asian company.

Many of those students, now successful business people, have maintained contact with their trader bosses. You don’t forget your roots.

Then of course there are those who made the ultimate leap and became Market Traders. Photographer, Tony Pierrakos, used to sell hammocks at our market. Ninh, trader of helicopters and other fascinating models, used to work for one of our knitwear traders and a leather jacket trader.

Queen Victoria Market teaches young business prospects how to be street wise, how to converse with a huge variety of different cultures and personalities, how to develop selling and financial skills that may be absent in the normal classroom, and gives them exposure across the full range of business activities and responsibilities, albeit at a micro level.

And then there is the social confidence gained from exposure to raw Aussie trader banter - the jokes, the jibes, the ribbing, and the genuine human respect that underlies much of that activity. A young person who survives everything the Queen Victoria Market throws up has a good grounding for the harshness of the outside business world.

Of course this is not one way. Many of these successful business people showed their worth early - hard working, willing to take on a variety of tasks, respectful to others, and quick to learn. These are dream qualities for market workers and highly sought after by traders.

It could be said that the contribution of young business people, and the things they learn at QVM, add to the rich worth of our great market.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Oh What A Night!

Those of you who have not attended a Council meeting at Melbourne Town Hall May wish to put it on the agenda sometime. It can be an intriguing experience.

Last night’s Future Melbourne Committee (A special Committee that implements Council matters) we started off with questions on a very personal sexual harassment issue which has been in the press recently, moved on to an application for development of a heritage car showroom up on Elizabeth St. (Yes, car showrooms have been around long enough to gain heritage status) and then to the issue that was most relevant to the QVM community - Infrastructure and car parking at QVM.

For the QVM matter there was a presentation by city design chief Rob Adams followed by a number of speakers who are each given 3 minutes to have their say. Presentations were made by Stan Liacos, Leah Moore, Bruce Pham, Greg Smith, Matthew Vitale, Paul Ansaldo, and Marshall Waters. It could be said that all but one of those was positive and supportive of the proposal.

Paul Ansaldo was supportive of investment but questioned just how logistics were going to work for Fruit & Vegetable traders. The need for close consultation with traders was clearly identified in a number of comments throughout the night.

Bruce Pham managed to showcase some of his socks as he presented in favour of spending money on our market. Marshall Waters introduced some mirth as he compared QVM Renewal with Brexit, and urged that we get on with the job.

“Give me a shovel”

“Getting on with the job” was a theme from traders, management and councillors and is perhaps best encapsulated In Councillor Le Liu’s comment as he urged that we get the renewal process underway - “Give me a shovel!”

George Milonas was mentioned for his written submission asking that we "move forward."

There was clearly lingering disappointment in some quarters that the first proposal for an underground facility didn’t get across the line. Arron Wood, Marshall Waters and others considered that was the best for the market in the long term, but we move on, and it was agreed that the new proposal achieves much of the same intent for better infrastructure.

A unanimous decision by the Futures Committee to accept the QVM Infrastructure and Car Parking proposal was a very positive outcome. For those who want to get on with the job at QVM, this was a great night.

Have Your Say - click here.