Precision Parking - during the week a steel ramp was placed across the entrance to Michael Mallon’s stall and we asked him how he got his car in to his stall without damaging the ramp. It might not be quite clear in the photo but the ramp is significantly elevated and can't be driven over. Here is Michael's explanation. “I drove at considerable speed down the aisle, and at just the right moment pulled on the handbrake and swung the wheel rally driver style. The subsequent spin, with a gentle launch off the edge of the ramp, landed me perfectly in the stall. It was all just one fluid movement. It might be a little harder getting out.” We can’t wait to see the CCTV and of course we don’t doubt his story.
The SBA roller coaster - many of the newcomers to String Bean Alley have a whole new appreciation of open air markets with this weekend’s variable weather. Moving stock out of the rain, protecting against wind-blown moisture, all while presenting products as well as possible for those customers prepared to venture up the alley between rain showers - a constantly changing environment and one which traders out in Queen St. have put up with for years.
Theories abound amongst traders about the reasons for low business levels at the moment but maybe the most accurate refers to exceedingly low consumer sentiment. A Trader pointed out that the last time this happened (the 2008 GFC), Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, gave everybody $1000 or so, and we spent our way out of a problem. It was a brilliant strategy and one that current PM, Scott Morrison, could perhaps emulate.
A good crowd turned out for the Night Market this week although not everybody was happy with observations that a younger (and poorer) demographic seemed to dominate.
A couple of traders in the Upper Market reported “donuts” on Friday and they weren’t the edible variety. (For the uninitiated a “donut” is a nil sales day - a big fat zero)
A trader said he was visited by a tour this week. It was a QVM tour and the guide introduced the Trader and asked him to explain his product to the group. The Trader has been visited by tours before but it surprised him that this one was all locals. And to complete the tale, a few returned later and purchased. Love those good news stories.
Jumping to conclusions - a Trader said he was impressed with the Truffle Festival up in A Shed this weekend but felt it was unfair competition for the cafe at the top of A Shed. It turns out the reverse was true and the big crowd caused a spike in nearby trade. As our photo shows that was a serious crowd.
A Trader who doesn’t sell food is wondering if you can buy truffle infused carry bags - anything to get truffles at his stall.
Another Trader suggested that if we can get a key festival in A Shed every weekend, get String Bean Alley up and firing, and add a few attractions in between, we might just have the answer to recovery in the Upper Market.
No rescue day! - a Trader commented that even on the quietest weeks you usually get a “rescue day”, a day when takings are higher than normal and a day that revives your business expectations. He didn’t get one this week and figures it must be coming up next week.