Is it still accurate to call the QVM Night Market a "market" or is it becoming more and more a night "club"?
This question has been raised by one of our senior market participants and echoes the sentiments expressed by a night trader who complained recently on this website about disappointing trading conditions. This trader said "I'm 40% down on last year’s figures and believe that the night market has become, and is promoted as, a food/alcohol/ music night........ I hope QVM can put more emphasis on traders and less on a night out."
Part of QVMs responsibility is to maximise crowds. But it is not just as simple as that. There is also a need for the retail environment to support its traders and getting the right crowd to attend is important. If the customer expectation is for a night of food, alcohol and music with general merchandise stalls purely as a side show, we may need to adjust the offer.
QVM has been called many things - a Melbourne icon, a place for the people, a tourists delight, a foodies heaven, an important cultural centre, and a community hub. All those descriptions are accurate, but essentially QVM is a place for retail (and wholesale) business. It is that business that provides income for QVM in the form of rents and profits for traders and their families. That is what drives our market.
In fairness, the official QVM Night Market web page appears to suggest a balanced offer –
“The original Night Market, Queen Victoria Market’s Night Market is the place to meet every Wednesday night for global street food, vintage fashion, eclectic wares, wine bars and live music.
Set beneath the historic sheds, you will find limited edition pieces ranging from jewellery, fashion and accessories to homewares, ceramics, prints and more! The Night Market also boasts one of Melbourne’s most impressive food line ups with over 60 foodies serving up street food from across the globe.”
However, if our correspondents are correct, the reality of why customers come to the night market falls short of those words. Perhaps we need to tweak the offer at the Night Market to give more support to non-food traders. The QVM Night Market has been a success on many levels. It is important that all traders contributing to the market are able to enjoy some of that success.