Friday 27 March 2015

Trader Responds To Renewal/Evolution Debate

The comment below was posted in response to an article on 25th March  regarding renewal (click here for the article). Trader Ivano has added his views.

25/03/2015 14:57:02 Is This Renewal Or Just Evolution? - A Traders View "I both agree and disagree with you passionately on two main points here Greg:
Firstly I agree that this is just an evolution of the market and trading - rather then complain I think that it is best that traders plan for the future and be more flexible in their approach to trading.
However I disagree with you strongly that trader involvement is a concern in the renewal process.  You have pointed out that the board have given you assurances that traders opinions will be heard, but when exactly - this is the final consultation process and through the previous consultation process traders views were effectively blacked out.  If traders are not listened to now they never will be, I find the statement from an earlier article that qvm board member Jane Fenton assured you that there will be trader involvement ""as soon as priorities are identified"" extremely worrying.  Is the 158 strategic brief not enough proof that priorities are already identified?
We have endured the consultation or lip service period - yet we have trader representatives feeling 'assured' by what clearly looks like more lip service - on the masterplan timeline they do not have to ignore our concerns for much longer until the FINAL plan is released. 
Having said that, if we move forward and accept that a lot of decisions have been made already - and our trader representatives have the courage to admit that the process is moving along without us we can begin to plan for the future and prepare for a different business model. Sitting in Limbo and pretending that the market renewal will involve our concerns is of no benefit to our traders - we need to plan for the different future rather than wait (in hope) for involvement in the plan" -

I completely understand the sentiments expressed in the comments above and being one of the “traders representatives” in question (Ivano) I think it only proper to make some comments of my own.

1) When will consultation with traders end?
Like the commenter above, I also was personally very concerned with the March 29 deadline for comments and submissions on the Draft Master Plan, in fact it was only till I got to the concluding sections of the 158 page Strategic Brief and then had the opportunity to raise my concerns to QVM management and board members that I had what I believe are valid reasons to begin to be somewhat reassured of continuing opportunities for trader engagement ( see page 125 of the Strategic Brief; see also the draft principles outlined on page 117 concerning works that impact on the heritage aspects of the QVM site).

So when does consultation end with traders? If we are to take these indications and guiding principles at face value, this will only be the case after options, initiatives and works that impact on traders have been completed. 
We have asked that a clearer statement regarding how exactly this continuing engagement process might be structured be put in writing so as to clarify any questions and allay any concerns, and were reassured that this would be done.

2) Can we be confident about all this?
As explained above, to date we have received a verbal assurance that the intention is for continuing consultation and engagement with traders and have now asked for written assurance and a clear series of guiding principles to give substance and structure to that assurance. I am (we are) quietly confident that this will be provided.

3) Have decisions already been made?
Well after many months of work by a professional and dedicated team we would be very disturbed if they didn’t by now have a clear list of what they perceive to be “issues and priorities” that need to be addressed.

Does this mean that decisions have been made? There is no doubt in my mind that many well intentioned and highly professional people have a fairly clear idea of what they think should happen at the market. But honestly, this is fundamentally little different to the fact that many well intentioned and highly passionate and professional traders likewise have a fairly clear idea of what they think should happen at the market.

Can these ideas be modified, can they evolve change and improve? I hope so. I personally sincerely hope that all of us, whether traders, management or Council can continue to evolve and improve our opinions, our thinking and our plans. I hope that none of us are approaching this process guided (entirely) by self interest but are truly doing our utmost to keep an open mind and considering what needs to be done so as to ensure the continued viability and relevance of this great market we are privileged to be associated with.

So just to sum up - I didn’t get the sense that there was mere “lip service” being provided to traders at the meeting mentioned above. Am I right? I think so, but only time will tell. In the meantime I will personally do my utmost to try to keep an open mind, evolving both my thinking and to the extent possible, my business model hopeful that I can play my part in helping to future proof the market. Because as much as we may not like it, whilst we traders very much have to live in the present, the Master Plan, the Strategic Brief, the Implementation Strategy and the yet to come all important Long Term Business Plan are more about the long term future than the present.  This fact in itself offers innumerable challenges to traders who on the one hand are firmly implanted in the present feverishly trying to eke out their day to day living, and on the other hand are being asked to weigh in on matters related to the long term future of the market.


Latest Retail News – 27/3/2015

Latest Retail News – 27/3/2015
1. Smiggle and Peter Alexander contribute to 9.1% profit lift for Premier Investments.
2. Red Rooster restaurants to serve up Sumo Salads.
3. Thousands attend Lindt Cafe re-opening in Sydney.
4. South Australia introduces lower retail penalty rates in exchange for higher base rates and other conditions.
5. Kathmandu reports first half loss on back of lower sales.
6. Online appliance e-tailer, Big Brown Box merges with Appliances Online.
7. Jewellery chain, Secrets, plans up to 40 stores in Australia.
8. Shareholders plan to sue Myer for outlook downgrade.
9. Country Road opens cafe, kitchen, retail store in historic Sorrento PO building.

QVM Attends International Markets Conference in Barcelona

The city of markets, Barcelona, is to provide the venue for an international conference on Public Markets with our CEO, Jan Cochrane-Harry, QVM Director of Strategy, Fiona Whitworth, and PPS Director, David O’Neil, presenting at the forum.

The conference takes place from Thursday March 26th to Saturday March 28th and an online description says –

"In these three days, operators, technical specialists and experts from around the world will discuss present-day strategies for revitalising public markets, a still-valid model which, unlike large shopping malls, fosters the general well-being of the city. The Conference will present new trends, around the world in ways of conceiving of and using public markets, both permanent and temporary. 

It will do so by means of a programme which alternates visits to several Barcelona markets with lectures and debates embracing different views and perspectives. The ultimate aim of the Conference is to uphold the idea of the “Market City”, of which Barcelona is an example, and to encourage the contributions of this model to sustainable food systems, to the links between rural and urban worlds, and to the vitality of neighbourhoods."

Here is a link to a more detailed agenda -

What Is Ugly Food?

This article on The Conversation website caught our attention. The author, Gary Mortimer, is a Senior Lecturer at Queensland Institute of Technology.

Consumer driven food trends are nothing new. “Organics”, gluten-free, and more recently buying “local” have all captured consumers, encouraging supermarkets around the globe and in Australia to respond. But the next emerging European food trend that may have the biggest impact on what we buy each week is “ugly food”.

What is the ‘ugly food’ movement?
It is estimated that a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed, with the total cost of that food waste being as high as US$400 billion a year.
In response to the European Commission’s plan to make 2014 the “European Year Against Food Waste” and the EU’s scrapping of rules that prevented the sale of oddly-sized or misshapen fruit and vegetables, supermarkets across Europe were quick to respond.
The overarching objective of the ugly food movement is to reduce food waste by selling to consumers those fruit and vegetables that would normally be either rejected by supermarket buyers or dumped by farmers.

Celebrity adds integrity
How do you market ugly food? The first rule is don’t use the word “ugly” to describe the product.
French supermarket Intermarch√© instead use the term “inglorious” fruit & vegetables. UK retailer ASDA promotes “wonky” fruit & vegetables.
And late last year, Australia’s largest supermarket retailer, Woolworths released its “Odd Bunch” campaign, a replication of the ASDA “ugly good” strategy, right down to the same celebrity chef. At the same time NSW food retailer Harris Farms launched its “imperfect picks” range.
More recently, Canada’s largest supermarket, Loblaws, announced the rollout of its “naturally imperfect” range.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has been used by both ASDA and Woolworths to help add credibility and consumer interest to the campaigns.

How ‘ugly’ is too ugly?
Not all supermarkets have been quick to follow suit, with some instead cautiously
approaching this new phenomenon.
The UK’s largest food retailer Tesco last year told the House of Lords EU Sub-committee on Agriculture that its supermarkets regularly supplied misshaped fruit and vegetables to Eastern and Central European stores, but found British consumers consistently demanded better quality. It called for consumer education campaigns to support the program.
In Australia, both Coles and Aldi have remained silent on whether they will implement such a program. While it’s too early to tell whether this foray into “ugly food” will be a resounding success for supermarket retailers, it is not unreasonable to assume Woolworths, and other Australian supermarkets may struggle to get Australian shoppers onside. After many years of produce buyers rejecting blemished and oddly shaped produce, and store managers removing offending items from shelves, Australian shoppers have been conditioned to expect only the very highest levels of freshness, quality and aesthetics.

The benefits of a ‘taste, not waste’ campaign
Supermarkets that have effectively launched an “ugly food” program have gained from both a perceived positive corporate social responsibility position and increased sales. Intermarch√© gained strong public support during the initial launch of its “Inglorious Fruit & Vegetable” campaign, selling 1.2 tonnes of misshaped fruit and vegetables across its stores in just two days, receiving a 24% increase in foot traffic, 3.6 million views on Youtube and over 500,000 Facebook “likes”.
Being able to provide lower priced fresh fruit and vegetables to low socio-economic consumer groups, while promoting healthy eating, is also a positive outcome for both retailers and shoppers. Ultimately, an “ugly food” program is a win-win for all those in the supply chain; growers, retailers and consumers.
It also allows supply chain costs to be reduced. “Ugly” produce would normally be transported from the farm gate to the market, only to be rejected, then transported back and disposed of. Now, such produce can be accepted, albeit at a lower “buy” price and sent onto stores as an “ugly food” alternative. This reduces costs to farmers, supermarkets and eventually shoppers.

A cautionary note
Assuming retailers are successful in convincing consumers of the merits of “ugly food”, the strategy could create price pressure across the category. From a shopper’s perspective, when provided a choice of loose, somewhat misshaped carrots at a low price, versus perfectly presented, aesthetically pleasing, high priced carrots, will shoppers simply switch to the cheaper option? Will price discounted, lower quality produce reduce waste? Some say no.
If campaigns to promote “taste over waste” are successful on a grand scale, there could be unintentional consequences for farmers. Consider the grower who has invested heavily in agriculture infrastructure and processes to ensure their potatoes meet very high standards set by supermarkets, only to find the market has now shifted to the “ugly” alternative.
Finally, the alleged power of the major supermarkets has come under increasing criticism and inquiry. Potentially the “ugly food” movement could inadvertently create a market where supermarket buyers are able to set very low “buy” prices for subjectively imperfect fruit and vegetables, with the alternative being to reject.

Re-usable Bags, Children's Books, and Peppa Pig

Shoppers With Re-usable Bags Shop Differently
A study in the US has suggested that shoppers who use their own bags are more likely to buy organic versions of food. So one green action leads to another.
But the same shoppers were more likely to add junk food like ice cream, chips and sweets presumably as some sort of indulgent reward for being green.

Children’s Books Could Be The Saviour For Bookstores.

The widely predicted disappearance of bookstores in the face of electronic alternatives has proved to be only partly correct and the survivors are still finding business opportunities in different book categories.
One Brisbane book business considered setting up a store dedicated to travel and cooking but when they carefully analysed their sales data they realised their specialisation needed to be in books for children and young adults.
At Dymocks they found that sales of printed children’s books rose 14% in 2014 while the young adult category, fuelled by film adaptions like Hunger Games, went up a massive 43%.

TV On Demand Is The Future
ABC boss Mark Scott has said that in the future children will be watching Peppa Pig on their iPads rather than waiting for the scheduled TV show to come on their TV screens. This is all part of the move to convenience and on demand access.

We wonder if such a shift could have a parallel in general retailing as shoppers look to shop when it suits them.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Is This Renewal Or Just Evolution? - A Traders View

The debate over QVM Renewal has created quite some angst in the trader group as we argue over whether renewal is the saviour of our market, or the destroyer. There are traders who believe we should leave the market alone and others who believe we need to arrest the sales decline that shows no sign of stopping.

There is no doubt that retailing has changed forever - the GFC made sure of that. There is also no doubt that our market has been sorely neglected - certainly over the last 20 years or so. So making up for lost ground was always going to bring the possibility of change.

But how much change are we really talking about? We are certainly not talking about a land grab of the size proposed back in the early 2000's. Yes, a very small parcel of land at the southern tip of the market will go, but in the context of a 7 hectare market site in the middle of a major city, our footprint remains huge - just ask David O'Neill.

Are we going to tear down our buildings? Well the toilet block in Queen St. is going, but that is about it.  Are we going to dramatically change the format of the market? Basically our trading areas are going to stay where they are with the bonus of a new market related area at Munro's corner. Trading under H & I Sheds remains a question mark.

Are we going to change the way we operate? To some extent we are. The market is proposing a greater spread of trading hours so we can at last start to accommodate the over-whelming wishes of our customers. QVM and its Board have been at pains to guarantee that traders will not be forced to trade 7 days, and that we can accomplish a wider spread of hours through offering traders a greater variety of trading options. In short, some of us will be trading while others are not. Some of us may need to re-arrange our competing family and business activities but there is nothing new about that in the history of running small businesses, particularly in retail.

So, I am proposing that that we are talking about nothing more than evolution for our market. We are adjusting our offer so that we better suit the changing nature of consumer demands. 

Does that mean we sit back and let the process flow over us? Hell no!!! Much of the planning for QVM is being done by some very smart minds but nobody has the on-the-ground experience of traders. We will need to be actively involved in this process to make sure that any changes make sense from a retail perspective. The assurance from the QVM Board that we will be involved in the detail is therefore most welcome.

It is my humble opinion that renewal evolution beats the hell out of leaving things as they are.  Considered input by traders is essential and the opportunity to make our market better should be embraced.

Greg Smith - QVMAC Representative and proud trader.

25/03/2015 14:57:02 Is This Renewal Or Just Evolution? - A Traders View "I both agree and disagree with you passionately on two main points here Greg:
Firstly I agree that this is just an evolution of the market and trading - rather then complain I think that it is best that traders plan for the future and be more flexible in their approach to trading.
However I disagree with you strongly that trader involvement is a concern in the renewal process.  You have pointed out that the board have given you assurances that traders opinions will be heard, but when exactly - this is the final consultation process and through the previous consultation process traders views were effectively blacked out.  If traders are not listened to now they never will be, I find the statement from an earlier article that qvm board member Jane Fenton assured you that there will be trader involvement ""as soon as priorities are identified"" extremely worrying.  Is the 158 strategic brief not enough proof that priorities are already identified?
We have endured the consultation or lip service period - yet we have trader representatives feeling 'assured' by what clearly looks like more lip service - on the masterplan timeline they do not have to ignore our concerns for much longer until the FINAL plan is released. 
Having said that, if we move forward and accept that a lot of decisions have been made already - and our trader representatives have the courage to admit that the process is moving along without us we can begin to plan for the future and prepare for a different business model. Sitting in Limbo and pretending that the market renewal will involve our concerns is of no benefit to our traders - we need to plan for the different future rather than wait (in hope) for involvement in the plan" -
Thanks for your input - Ed.

26/03/2015 00:13:47 Market renewal "Sad to say that as a passionate and long serving market stall holder, I feel that only ' lip service' is being paid to us in this market renewal. I agree that we need to bring the market into the new age.... However if there had been a few modifications over the past 20 years we would not be in this situation. I appreciate the work of this editor, however difficult it might be... Go Greg!"
Thanks for your input E - Ed.

26/03/2015 00:20:16 Market renewal "Ps I am overseas and I look forward to any comments that might appear on Victraders!"

26/03/2015 09:26:02 New plans - whom will they benefit? "My difficulty with redevelopment plans are as follows: Master plan is presented without any details!? How can one vote on a master plan without the fine print? Would you buy a new house without knowing where the kitchen / bedrooms / living areas are? Yet we're asked to adopt a new master plan with details to follow. Furthermore with works ready to start in 2016, it is impossible for the fine print not to exist - one year in construction industry is a very short time. So either details are not shown to us, traders, as they are unfavorable to us or the developers are really incompetent and really do not have the details yet. Master plan call for removal of traders from footpath of Queen st - where are they going to go? Market is what it is due to hard working traders - they have toiled and worked hard to make the place attractive and it is this atmosphere that attracts a certain market crowd. Surely redevelopment should be for the benefit of existing traders and not at their expense. We are promised golden mountains in future, but so far it is obvious that: stand sizes will become smaller and traders from footpath of Queen st will be moved. Issue of loosing stands and relocation must be addressed now to a) find an amicable solution and b) to relieve fears that many traders have. Peoples livelihood depends on it!" David 
Thanks for your input David - Ed. 

Sunday 22 March 2015

Latest Retail News – 22/3/2015

Latest Retail News – 22/3/2015

1. Muji to open its first store in Sydney.
2. Dick Smith takes its Move concept online.
3. Home-grown bohemian fashion store, Camilla, to open in US.
4. Lottery Retailers Association urges Tatts to reconsider selling through convenience stores.
5. Australian singles over 35 buy fewer vegetables than any other category.
6. Oroton reports 57% profit drop over last year’s first half.
7. Myer shares plummet after 23% slide in first half results.
8. Consumers expected to be more confident after fall in unemployment.
9. Australia’s Lorne Jane activewear brand to be stocked in Nordstrom stores in US and Canada.
10. Sydney’s Lindt siege cafe re-opens.
11. Spotlight opens second store in Malaysia.
12. Dick Smith cuts support staff in drive to control costs.
13. Pumpkin Patch seeks buyer.
14. The Australian arm of French giftwear retailer, Pylones, is up for sale after being placed into voluntary administration.
15. Food & Beverages are the fastest growing online categories. 

Footwear Retailing Consolidation

Key footwear retailer, RCG Corporation, is set to buy the Accent Group owners of Platypus Shoes, Skechers, Vans and Timberland stores.
RCG already own Athlete’s Foot and Merrell and this acquisition will give it access to international brands like Dr Martens, Stance, K Swiss and Palladium.

It is interesting to watch large scale acquisition as just one of the responses to huge global changes in retailing. Smaller retailers will need to become very innovative if they are to find their niche in the market.

SBS Markets Series Starts Thursday 8:30 PM

SBS will be screening the first episode in a series on world food markets this Thursday evening. The central character is described as an old-school fishmonger called Roger Barton who travels around trying out some of the world’s biggest fish markets.

A must-see for you fishmongers, but probably of interest to QVM traders generally.

Adelaide Market Links With Time-Poor Customers

Adelaide Market’s interim CEO has announced plans to link entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with traders to make fresh produce more readily available to time-poor city workers and commuters.
It would appear that the market wants to make its fresh produce the source for a distribution network including things like an outlet in Adelaide’s busy Rundle Mall, deliveries to CBD workplaces, pick-up points at railway stations, and even lunchbox supply.

The incoming CEO said they were not trying to deter customers who already visited the market, but more to give access to quality, fresh market produce to customers who for various reasons found it difficult to visit the market.

Targetting Your Customers At QVM

I have just read an article about consumer generations - Gen X, Gen Y etc - and I think I am more confused than when I started, but there were some gems of information that have relevance for traders at QVM.

The article included the line - "Generation Y consumers are set to leapfrog Gen X-ers and overtake Baby Boomers as the nation's biggest spenders." Understanding the wants and desires of our customers is of course essential to maintaining our relevance as traders and there are some trends that sneak up on us and then become blindingly obvious. Levi's were a strong clothing brand for many years but as this article pointed out no Gen X-ers now want to be wearing the same clothing brand as their parents or grandparents.

There is the delightful story of when Zara opened its flagship Pitt St Mall store in 2011, the General Pants store opposite put up balloons and a sign that declared: "My mum shops at Zara". Picking your customers and then aligning your offer is a task worth constant review and experimentation. The opposite to that is setting up your market stall the same way each day and then sitting back to wait for the response. Not only do we need to keep in touch with trends but we need to adapt to changing local conditions.

Take the example of trader Mino Voloder who recently took on the Tupperware Delegates from Indonesia. Now, we all assumed that the delegates were only in our market for cheap $5 T-shirts, but Mino decided that his more up-market leather goods had a role to play as well. He hired two Indonesian speaking assistants, focused on some select product specials (clearance items), and changed his stall configuration. He had seen the crush created by hordes of delegates descending on souvenir stalls and deliberately set up his stall with an entry and exit that allowed an easy flow of customers. He was very pleased with the resulting trade.

So, what are the lessons we need to take from all this? Firstly, be pro-active in your attention to your business and constantly look for ways to adjust to longer term trends and the opportunities created by short term change (like an influx of conference delegates). Secondly, it is easy to find out what your customers are looking for. You ask them. Engaging closely with your customers and asking what their needs are, can be a very productive process. 

Friday 20 March 2015

QVM Board Gives Assurances On Consultation

As reported in the article below, Trader Representatives, George Milonas and Greg Smith made a presentation to the QVM Board on Thursday. One of the issues raised with the Board concerned the lack of detail about important issues contained in briefing documents on QVM renewal.

Later the same day a Queen Victoria Market Advisory Committee* meeting was held and two Board members attended our meeting. There was much discussion around the need for detail and Board member Jane Fenton gave an assurance that traders will be deeply involved in detail as soon as priorities are identified. She said that has always been the intention of the Board.

It would seem there is still some time before that will be possible. The current engagement process continues through to the end of the month and then CoM will need to consider a final draft**. Trader Representatives were encouraged by Jane Fenton’s assurance. It is essential that traders are able to develop informed views and give appropriate advice on the basis of a detailed analysis of renewal components.

* The QVMAC is an advisory body including elected Trader Representatives, QVM management, and attended by QVM Board members.

**If you haven't yet read the Draft Master Plan or the Strategic Brief, here are the links -
Download the Draft Master Plan document by clicking on one of the entries below.
   a. - PDF document.
   b. - Word document.
There is also a Strategic Brief compiled by QVM which informed the Draft Master Plan. It has a lot more detail and is available here -

Traders Meet With QVM Board

QVMAC Trader Representatives George Milonas (Meat & Fish) and Greg Smith (Specialty Traders – General Merchandise) presented to the QVM Board at their scheduled meeting on Thursday 19th March.
George and Greg were allowed 30 minutes to present current issues for traders as part of the Board’s commitment to direct access. 

George talked about three specific areas –
          Car parking – renewal discussions include a commitment to retain at least the current level of 710 car park spaces and George made a case for also replacing the lost car park spaces from Therry St., Queen St., and Franklin St. He made the point that the usual practice with a shopping precinct upgrade involves more car parking, not less.
          Trader Protection – George asked what trader protection is in place to ensure traders are not disadvantaged by renewal. He pointed out that “History has shown us that during renovations traders suffer significant damage” and he asked that measures be introduced during renewal to ensure growth.
          A QVM Trader On The Board – George suggested that having a trader on the QVM Board made a lot of sense, particularly during a complex renewal process. He recognised that issues of “conflict of interest” had been raised in the past and he stressed that a trader on the Board would only work if it was embraced by the Board as a measure that could benefit the market.
George’s full presentation can be found here – QVMAC BoardPresentation – George Milonas.

Greg Smith gave a review of the response from Specialty Traders (General Merchandise) to the renewal process so far. He talked about the Strengths, Weaknesses, Priorities and Other Issues related to renewal.
Strengths – Greg said that the documentation contained in the Draft Master Plan and the Strategic Brief was comprehensive and wide-ranging. The documents were useful tools for traders to engage with the renewal project.
Weaknesses –       (a) Greg said that the lack of clarity over how a retail market would integrate with an events space was a major concern for traders. He pointed out that Melbourne Music Week had created a negative impact on sales although events like the Tupperware Delegation showed promise.
                              (b) The other major weakness in renewal was the lack of detail. Greg maintained that traders needed a clear picture of what was to happen and a level of detail that enabled a realistic assessment of the impact on business.
Priorities – Given the above, Greg said our priority is for detailed discussions as soon as possible.
Other Issues – Greg said that a major area of concern for traders was how we maintain a comprehensive marketing & promotions program during the distraction of a renewal.

Greg’s presentation can be found here – QVMAC BoardPresentation – Greg Smith.

Both Trader Representatives received a good hearing at the Board meeting and a useful exchange of questions and answers took place.

Is It Time You Were Recognised For Your Contribution To Melbourne Retailing?

The Lord Mayor’s Commendations recognise the commitment of small business proprietors, including market traders, and their contribution to the City of Melbourne's prosperity.

Applications can now be made for the 2015 awards which are open to –
- independent small business proprietors with fewer than 20 employees (equivalent full-time), that have operated continuously within the City of Melbourne for at least 10 years

- those whose business partners have been previously recognised by this program.

- previous recipients who are now eligible for upgrade

- generational family businesses of any size where the business has been operated by the same family within the City of Melbourne for three or more generations in succession. A minimum qualifying period of 10 years for the current proprietor applies.

Traders with 10+ years of operation are therefore eligible and the process involves filling out an application form (click here for an online link), and attending an evening presentation ceremony at Town Hall.

It is not often that traders receive outside recognition for their efforts and the presentation ceremony is an excellent opportunity to network with other small business operators in Melbourne, promote your business, and promote the Queen Victoria Market as a whole. Recent recipients include Bruce Pham, Joe Stolarek, Krista Hackett, Xenia Charalambous, Fabio & Lisa Costa and Stephen Cooper.

Awards are available in the following categories –

50+ years: Platinum Commendation - Small Business Proprietor

40+ years: Gold Commendation - Small Business Proprietor

25+ years: Silver Commendation - Small Business Proprietor

10+ years: Bronze Commendation - Small Business Proprietor

3+ generations: Generational Family - Business Commendation

Traders can access an application form online (click here) or contact QVMAC Trader Representative Greg Smith on 0406 222 020 for more information.

Easter Promotion Opportunity

Our Marketing Department is getting geared up for the upcoming Easter celebrations (Good Friday is on 3rd April) and one component of the promotion program will be a $10 Golden Egg Special.

Brightly coloured egg-shaped signs will be distributed to traders in all areas of the market. They will become signposts for a colourful egg hunt to entice customers around the market. Promotion will include radio spots on 3AW, MIX 101.1, and Triple M.

Marketing staff expect to distribute signs to interested traders next week. You might like to give some early thought to the $10 specials you could offer as part of the egg hunt.

Have Your Say – click here.

Sunday 15 March 2015

Final Draft Master Plan Presentations For General Merchandise

The final presentation sessions for Specialty Traders (General Merchandise) on the QVM Renewal Draft Master Plan will take place on Monday 16th (2pm - 4pm) and Tuesday 17th (3:30 - 5:30pm ) March at the Engagement Hub 452 Queen St.

The presentations will give detailed insight into the content of the Draft Master Plan which is expected to form the basis for QVM development over the next 10 or so years. 

Bookings are essential at one of the following locations -
-        Customer Service at the main office (rear 513 Elizabeth St).
-        Customer Service at Shop 1 in F Shed.
-        At the Engagement Hub 452 Queen St.
-        Email Targol directly:

Latest Retail News -15/3/2015

Latest Retail News -15/3/2015
1. Book store sales expected to decline further in 2015.
2. McDonalds global sales decline.
3. Milan Direct tops online furniture sales again.
4. Latest ANZ Roy Morgan survey says consumer confidence falling.
5. Target US responds to declining sales with job cuts.
6. UK supermarket giant, Tesco, removes Schweppes products from shelves after dispute with Coca Cola.
7. Children’s shoe chain Shoes & Sox sold to venture capital firm.
8. Terry White chemists report strong first half.
9. New ombudsman to assist small businesses in disputes.
10. Footwear group, Munro Family, buys 17 Wanted Shoes stores in NSW.
11. Winter freeze blamed for fall in US retail sales.
12. Betta Foods group sold after being placed in administration in January.

A Traders View On Renewal - Jeff Wozniak

It could be said that Jeff Wozniak believes renewal should involve a more conservative approach than what is proposed in the Draft Master Plan.

Jeff is concerned that our character as an open air market could be lost in the new proposals. He sees the benefits of market innovations like solar power but doesn't see the need for a headlong rush into the 21st century and believes some minor and cosmetic changes are all that is needed. He believes there are some essential characteristics that need to be enhanced in our market -
1. Affordable goods.
2. Well presented stalls and stock.
3. Effective management control to avoid category over-representation (duplication).
4. Cheap shopping with ancillary services like car parking at cheap prices.

Jeff is concerned that enclosing our market would change its character and that permanent type stall set ups could make us a lot less flexible. He uses the example of the current F&V stalls that prevent use of those areas outside normal trading times. He is concerned that permanent set-ups and extended trading would make us too much like a shopping centre and believes our market should not be just a revenue earner for the city but rather a tourist attraction and community hub.

Jeff says that we are not a 21st century market and that we offer better things to our customers like personal service and personal contact in a traditional open market environment. We could make some discrete physical improvements like ceiling fans in summer but essentially our market shouldn't change. As our city moves forward into the 21st century, Jeff's mantra might be - the more we stay the same, the more different we become.

16/03/2015 12:43:09 Jeff Wozniak View "... the more we stay the same, the more different we become…You mean:   ...more DIFFICULT we become..." Mino

Friday 13 March 2015

A Summary of the Strategic Brief on QVM Renewal

This is dangerous – any attempt to summarise a 158 page document into a few paragraphs is doomed to failure. There is just too much to take in and the renewal project is too important to gloss over. 
So this article is not an attempt to relieve traders of the need to read the document that briefed the Draft Master Plan. If nothing else we expect it will encourage you to read further and embrace a very comprehensive and impressive look at QVM and its future. The Strategic Brief is worth the full read.

Some Notes From Reading The Strategic Brief
- The vision for QVM incorporates 3 elements - a market of markets, a Melbourne experience and a community meeting place.
- Upgraded facilities are a key element of this document with particular attention to more efficient back of house facilities – cleaning, storing, processing, loading and unloading, vehicle parking – and how to separate these processes from pedestrian areas.
- The market will be available 7 days with different levels of trading – some 7 day retailing, particularly around the edges – shorter trading options will continue but customers will have some sort of offer 7 days.
- The market will have an edge – the edge will be largely occupied by 7 day traders and the empty warehouse/car park look will be removed.
- Lower Market – the food areas between Queen St. and Elizabeth St. will be largely unchanged although back of house facilities will be improved to remove unsightly, smelly and inefficient operations.
- H&I Sheds remain a question mark with a number of proposals including the possibility of moving the F&V operations to the Upper Market or more clearly identifying the role of the competing F&V precincts.
- The possibility of new locations for current take away food offers in the Deli Hall and replacing them with a more distinctive Dairy Produce offer.
- Sheds A-E will feature a variety of trading options including, box-based setups, fixed stalls, and lock up shops.
- Sheds E and F will be linked with a possible “arcade effect” (we assume with weather protection) and possibly operate 7 days.
- Sheds JKL and SBA will become flexible trading areas allowing a diverse range of markets and events.
- Vehicles will be pretty much banned from all trading areas (apart from loading and unloading) with the possibility of special onsite parking for some trader’s vehicles.
- Peel St. would become the “business end” of the market with a combination of larger format retail trading and the main service point for traders, management, wholesalers and suppliers in the upper market.
- The J shed cemetery wall will be identified as an historic feature in the market.
- The Aboriginal Cemetery will be recognised possibly through a special dedication of space in F shed.
- The toilet block on Queen St. will be relocated to clearly identify this important pedestrian area as Market Cross linking Queen St., Therry St. and J Shed walkway.
- Queen St. will be closed to through traffic and include an expanded food offer.
- Therry St. will become an area of 7 day trading and location for special markets.
- The existing car park will be converted to open space.
- The Elizabeth St. administration offices will be vacated for retail and hospitality purposes.
- A Visitor Centre will be built on Queen St. adjacent to the current bus parking area to showcase the market, Melbourne food and regional tourism.
- A Tourist Bus Arrival Point is planned with links to the City Circle Tram, a possible departure point for regional bus tours, and possibly offsite parking for buses.
- A Market Education Centre is planned for the use of traders, public, schools and industry and to highlight the rich heritage of our market.
- Other potential opportunities include converting The Munro Site to car parking/retail offer, The Franklin St. Stores as an Education Centre, Onsite Radio Broadcasting and a Food & Wine Industry Hub.

We want to emphasise that many of these components are described as “possible” or “proposed” and will be the subject of much more discussion. When you are ready to read the complete story, here is the link -
And you can still book one of the information sessions through the Engagement Hub on Queen St. to get a verbal presentation.

Have Your Say - click here.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Renewal Questions Start

We have been promoting the merits of becoming informed about QVM renewal before we start the process of analysis and questioning. With a number of key consultation sessions still to happen, that still applies, but we couldn’t resist just a couple of questions at this early stage. Our intent is to raise questions on this website over coming weeks and seek answers as we go.

What guarantees do we have that development money will be spent in the right places? This question was asked by a trader who was concerned that proceeds from the sale of the development land in the Franklin St. triangle could disappear into city coffers. We can actually answer this one because we have access to the agreement between Melbourne City Council and the State Government which says in part – “Any profits that MCC receives as a result of selling or developing the Development Lots must be used for the Project or ongoing management of the Market.”

Is the car park under A,B,C sheds still an option? – the Draft Master Plan refers to customer parking in Quarter 2 and says – “Consideration will be given to provision of underground services and may include limited car parking. Investigate potential customer car parking in areas clear of former cemetery, below A,B and C sheds.”

What are your questions?

And just in case you haven't yet read the Draft Master Plan or the Strategic Brief, here are the links -
Download the Draft Master Plan document by clicking on one of the entries below.
   a. - PDF document.
   b. - Word document.
There is also a Strategic Brief compiled by QVM which informed the Draft Master Plan. It has a lot more detail and is available here -

Interesting Market Stories

The Hague Market Construction
The Hague market is one of Europes largest outdoor markets with around 500 stalls operating 4 days from 9:00am to 5:00pm. The market offers a huge variety of exotic fruit, flowers, clothes, computer products, confectionary, shoes, materials, fish, meat, spices, and ready to eat food and drink. It caters to a multi-cultural clientele. Our picture shows some more modern facilities being constructed. 
Click here for more information on The Hague market. (Thanks to Annette from Depilit for passing on this story.)

Birth At Brisbane Market
Market-goers assisted with the birth of a baby boy at the Boundary Street Markets in the Brisbane suburb of West End around 2 weeks ago. The baby’s father arrived at the market to pick up his wife only to find an additional family member had been born.
The baby was delivered alongside market stalls and cafes with market-goers offering shirts and clothing to help with the birth. Markets Co-ordinator, David Bostock, said "It was like a multicultural get-together, to help with care and attention for this baby."

Night Noodle Market Doubles Visitor Numbers
Canberra’s Enlighten Festival is described as a celebration of culture and creativity with a variety of light shows, music and performances conducted around the nation’s capital during February/March.

Organisers said that the addition of the Night Noodle Markets this year had drawn many more people with crowds doubled over previous years.