The City Of Melbourne on behalf of Queen Victoria Management Pty Ltd is applying to Heritage Victoria for the installation of more relocatable pods (shipping containers) in String Bean Alley. And the question has been asked – “Do they fit with our old market?”
In a sense they are perfect. The Upper market has always been about function before form. You only have to look at our proliferation of steel racks and steel storage boxes in the market. Those facilities are not pretty and it is clear that efficient operation and meeting the needs of the operating conditions of the time are the driving forces in our choice of facilities.
Of course the “current trading situation” has changed dramatically over the last decade. Customers have many more buying choices. They are in the box seat and demanding increasing levels of convenience and accessibility. They are now seeking a mix of shopping and pleasure (our successful night markets are proof of that), longer trading hours, and new demands are being placed on market traders as we compete with a whole range of retailing options.
Relocatable pods allow us to improve our offer through better displays. They allow us to trade at a variety of hours with a roller door the only barrier to when we trade. Some traders will save 4 hours per day setting-up and packing up. That time can be better spent on more actual trading hours, more time to fine tune their retail offer through stock acquisition and in-house websites, and even more flexibility to meet family demands.
QVM will always have open stand stalls but containers offer a better way for many traders and CEO, Stan Liacos, has confirmed that demand for this option is very high.
Shipping containers are not pretty, but like our facilities over the last 140 years, they are functional. For many small family traders they are the answer to meeting the increasing demands of consumers.
Shipping containers are simply an efficient tool to meet modern trading needs. The blessing is that we can incorporate them within our wonderful traditional shed environment and help make our market a better place for traders and customers.
By Greg Smith
Disclosure: The author of this article is a tenant in a SBA container and may benefit from increased traffic flow if the approval is granted.