Today's article in The Age (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/traders-fear-20140301-33swo.html) starts off with an uncomfortable summary of QVM decline, the loss of the "farmers market" ingredient, the disappearance of local manufacturing and its "back door" supply source for traders, the sameness of cheap Chinese made goods, and the failure to address modern customer demands for convenience and availability.
Rigorous analysis of QVM can be very positive and that is what the current renewal process is all about. The article paints a healthy picture of QVM annual returns to city council but equally makes the point that the market needs to be seen as a "social enterprise", not just a commercial one. That is a point that may be lost on some of our Board members. We can expect continuing debate on the role of a "public retail market".
Like all summaries of complex problems this article misses the target on a couple of issues and the suggestion that rents start at $20.50 per day is misleading given that the average of rent and associated costs in the top end of the market is around $2600 per month. However, it is still true that the market can be a low cost entry point for new retailers and that our role as a business incubator is an important one.
Renewal at QVM is a very exciting prospect and articles like this will enhance the process of debate. We particularly like the introduction of words like "grittiness" and "anarchy" when describing our QVM. Somehow they ring true. Hopefully we will soon be adding words like "healthy", "dynamic", and "profitable".