Monday 9 April 2012

Dear Mr. Doyle - Our Future ...Your Say - No.1

We had quite a response to our “Dear Mr. Doyle” post as traders commented on a range of issues all of which deserve our attention.
To keep the analysis going we have picked one of those comments and invite your views.
 02/04/2012 08:05:03"As a general merchandise stallholder, I couldnt agree more with the Lord Mayor. We love visiting other countries/states and the main thing we seek when travelling and visiting markets is good food/eating and shopping for quailty products. Our market is riddled with cheap clothing, junky souvenirs/products, and bad attitude from the stallholders. Sometimes when i walk thru the market i feel like I should be in smaller markets in the outer suburbs, this is not the way one should feel when going thru a Melbourne Landmark. Unfortunately, it is management who has created this situation we are in by choosing these stallholders, so the first move should be to change the selection process. We are lagging behind the rest of Australia, and even the world.  We need to be on par with markets such as freemantle and to do that we need to reduce the GM area in half and only have stallholders like the  night market has.  It is clear that few stall holders are making money at the GM area so why not stop complaining and instill change, move the stalls to other areas of Melbourne, go where the products are best suited.
We know that Night Market is doing very well so we need to do the same thing we do for the NM at the day market.  It's hard for the market because this is how it has been for tens of years and no one wants to change, they would rather wait until they all go bankrupt. Introducing free parking will not work, it will only make it easier for visitors to the food section. Next they will be blaming high petrol prices !! What people dont understand is why would someone travel from dandenong to QVM to see exactly the same thing they can see in their own suburb??  We have been in communication with stallholders from Salamanca, Freemantle and Mindle and all of them are booming, making lots of money. The question is, how do you offer compensation to stalls that are no longer relevant to the market and have been there for several generations? Management is mainly looking at things from a dollar perspective, reducing the stallholders by half means that they will reduce their income by half from GM and replacing these stalls with food stalls will not be a solution because then there will be too many food stalls.
Perhaps they need to be looking at using that half of the market as something else?  Change is welcome!! "

04/04/2012 16:55:20 I agree that the market should invite more specialised, handmade and alternative traders such as at the night market.  
05/04/2012 20:42:15 "Changing the selection process sounds like a good idea. We need candidates with retail experience, adequate financial backing and high merchandising and customer service skills.
Not sure the night market standard should be our aim and I question whether general traders are doing well there, but certainly our mix would benefit from quality craftwork.
The market created a Sunday craft market in A shed a few years back. The traders were innovative and seemed to have desirable goods but the whole concept fell over. One of the reasons may have been sending the newbies to Siberia in A shed to create extra rental income, rather than giving them a best chance in better trading areas.
Its a bit like the festivals in Queen St. Instead of trying to create new areas that drag away from the top end of the market, we should be integrating new concepts within the top end. This may mean that traders have to be more flexible on stall positioning so that new ideas can be integrated."

06/04/2012 22:31:05 The Night Market keeps being mentioned repeatedly, I would respectfully suggest it may be wise to speak to a number of GMT stallholders who traded with limited success at the Night Market. Which in my mind suggests caution in what we imply as "the answer" to our present trading difficulties. I personally feel that for trading to be succesful it is imperative that the day market finds ways to regain its past glory as a shopping destination and not move towrds becoming an entertainment precinct.                   

06/04/2012 22:42:40 With regards to the above generalized comment regarding other Australian Markets and that is that: "stallholders from Salamanca, Freemantle and Mindle... are booming, making lots of money". I find that anecdotal statement rather questionable and would be very interested to hear the specifics as to: 1) Which sectors are "making lots of money"; 2) what factors are enabling these Markets to be so successful in the present climate and 3) what specific factual lessons, if any, these stallholders and Market Management companies can offer us. Whilst there is no doubt we are traversing difficult times I am very surprised to hear that other Markets are instead relishing the present economic conditions and indeed "booming".

08/04/2012 19:27:12 I do the night market and yes we do 10x more than at the day market, some GM that I know didnt do well and stopped going, they were ones that shouldn't have been there in the first place. 2 night markets ago I noticed NM management started doing the same thing as the day market does - expanding the market and then needing to fill spots, suddenly we saw dodgy $10 sunglass stand there!! I think they learnt quick not to that again. I agree that it's ridiculous that newbies get shoved in A and B where they have no chance, especially wrong when you have 50 souvenir stands selling $2 trinkets! People are moving away from junk, just looking tv this morning saying hand made chocolates and dark chocolate sales are going thru the roof... Yes consumer spending has gone down, and those people that are not spending will not be using petrol money to come to town to buy something they can find at kmart with even better quality. So focus on the people that are spending, today's paper says Melbourne is in the top 5 richest cities in the world, we have money but those with money will not be coming to QVM to buy junk from GM, they are buy organics though!  

09/04/2012 12:54:27 "Just for everyone, A shed craft market was setup to
create 1) a craft market 2) to help Victoria St traders
3) where did you want to put new craft traders.
In your stall? Think about it !
Sorry to say but a lot of us seam to forget where we
Come from. I am seconded gen market trader.
My parents started the market in 1969 did not speak the
Langue, minimal stock, gave it a go and did well.
The market is a place where u come and have a go at minimal
Setup cost. Yes the market has become more professional
In recent times but remember its the place to come to
Have a go.
Night market is not the answer for the day market where
There is need for a change what that change is I do not

09/04/2012 16:49:38 Wow! 10x more than which day at the day Market? Is that 10x more that you do all week, or 10x more than you average on a mid-week day or a Sat or Sunday?  

09/04/2012 19:15:03 how fantastic to see well thought out arguments for and against certain market issues..most are spot on the's a pity it took so long to get some honest truths much as change needs to happen from at the bottom with respect to quality of stall holders change also needs to happen at the top.if management believe they were on the right track until now especially with their view to where our revenue mostly comes from(local people ) when it actuality it mostly comes from tourists, it leads to me to think nothing positive will happen especially with traders morale until they are entirely replaced. imagine how many wasted dollars and hours went into promotions that were targeted to the wrong people..these people need to be accountable for their negligible attitude until now. th efirst step has been taken with regards to traders speaking up. we now need action needs to stop focusing on other ventures and start focusing the cash cow that has fed them for so long which is now on the verge of running dry..  

09/04/2012 21:05:38 "Be careful what you wish for. As much as I think we all agree that management has been ""well short of the mark"" on almost everything. Just keep in mind that a drastic change such as an entirely new management and completely new structure may only bring new ( and largely unknown ) variables into what is already a difficult equation. For instance from personal experience I can say that often this sort of change opens the door for unwarranted rent rises, which is the last thing we need, or can afford. One similar example I know of saw a tripling of the previous rent!
I am for ""encouraging"" council and management to finally ""get real"". This may mean indeed some major changes in managements structure, but I would advise caution in moving too far too fast in that direction.
Management definitely need to stop being Real Estate Managers and develop a team that knows how to successfully manage a retail market. Quick action and restructuring with that in mind seems to me at least to be the obvious first step forward, that and some accountability and we may finally see some improvements.

09/04/2012 20:22:52 "When we talk about what traders can do, the management organised to have visual merchandising and customer service seminars last year and this year and the vast majority of traders didn't even bother to attend.  Shoppers come to the market because it's cheap and because they're looking for a destination experience.  If we can give them an 'experience' they'll come back.  It's not just the type of stock, it's the entire image.  Another thing, the fruiterers make a lot of mess, I've heard little kids call the market the 'stinky market' as a result.  I hear the market is working on ways to improve the cleanliness and appearance of the market, but it's taking a little too long...  BTW FYI we were one of the so-called 'newbies' who were placed in A shed 12 years ago and we're still here and doing really well."  

09/04/2012 22:12:55 "A.The market administration must check and double check each new stall buyer,to make sure that they are not going to be dealing with an unprofessional trader.
B.The traders must find out when is the car park lease expire so we can push very hard for a change in the way it runs(nothing can be done befor the end of the lease).
The traders must prepare the city of melbourne for a fight re;increase of the rent which occurs around November each year and not to wait for the bad news first and then scream for help.
C.Traders must improve the look of their stall in every posible way and keep prices as competitive as posible in order to stay alive in the ""new world"" of tradings etc +if all the above things that were mentioned will change then we,the traders will not have to deal with the problems(mr doyle)and all the other problems that we are facing now."  

10/04/2012 19:21:28 "Just a response to ""10x more takings at the night market"" lucky you, but I think you are alone there, I would personally find it pretty hard to take $9000 from 5.30 pm to 10 pm
I have traded for 10 years at the night market and find it to be very successful, for me it's more like 2 times an average Sunday on average, sometimes more sometimes less, but believe me not everybody is successful at the night market, this past season both my nieghbours would have done what I take on a Tuesday, and both have expressed little interest to return next season. and I believe their product to be of good quality.
There are things we can take from the night market such as, better stall presentation, unique products, better customer service"