Sunday 30 December 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 30/12/2018

The special Monday Christmas Eve Market brought some good crowd attendances in the Upper market with encouraging sales reports. Our photo shows the Centreway at E Shed around noon.

String Bean Alley didn’t fare so well which was probably understandable considering that J-L Sheds were allocated for car parking.

A trader noticed that the curated special market on the Monday included a stall-free Queen Street. A taste of things to come?

One Trader on Christmas Eve said he wasn’t too concerned about his takings for the day – getting out of Christmas cooking was bonus enough.

A sight to gladden the heart of every trader - cars queueing along Peel St. all the way back to Victoria St. just to get into our car park on the day before Christmas.

Workers dismantling the ice-rink claimed they had asked to trade past 24th December but they were told the area was required for other activities.
(P.S. One of the main considerations for keeping to the original timing for the ice-rink was the temperatures expected after Christmas. Given the temperature shutdowns that occurred before Christmas that seems like a good decision.)

A trader said that when a cricket test match is on in Melbourne between Australia and India it pays to sharpen up on your cricketing terms. The city has been full of cricket mad Indian fans who just love to talk about their game.

QVM In The News - 30/12/2018

Melburnians who visited David Jones and the Queen Victoria Market in the lead up to Christmas have been urged to stay on alert for the signs of ...
Thousands of Christmas Eve shoppers have flocked to the Queen Victoria Market to snatch up the freshest produce for their festive celebrations, with ...
It's the busiest day of the year for traders at the Queen Victoria Market, as panicked shoppers squeeze in some last minute ingredients for tomorrow's ...
Spread over seven hectares, Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Around 1,000 traders sell everything, ...

Articles Worth A Read - 30/12/2018

The end of a year and the start of a new one encourages lots of reflection, assessment and predictions. The retail press has been full of news and views over the past week and the following are the pick of the bunch - 

Changes at McDonalds show that retailers need to keep on their toes -

There are two things that people judge you on and they are relevant to traders seeking to attract and keep their customers -

The struggle for department stores -

The move away from pure retail in shopping centres -

Amazon are on track to dominate Australian retail -

Canadian grocers are transforming themselves -

Concerns About L Shed Trading

Twelve more containers are coming to String Bean Alley and for many that is good news but there are now concerns about the impact on the adjoining L Shed trading area.

Ten of the new containers will be positioned on the north side of SBA backing into L Shed. Perhaps the photo of the back of the new Visitor Centre container best illustrates the concerns. Firstly there is the unattractive steel wall and secondly the depth of the stall space left in L Shed.

The sterile steel wall will be less obvious with gaps in between containers (the Visitor Centre container is the longest in the aisle) and there is a suggestion that it could be further relieved with see-through, glass-walled containers. It should be noted that glass walls may restrict stock display options.

The space left for trading on the south side of L Shed is considered by many to be inadequate with one trader saying he will not be able to conduct business in his resized stall. Narrow stalls do exist in the Upper market but they are usually on walkways where increased traffic flow supports the size restriction for certain market businesses. Providing more narrow stalls in a standard trading aisle will result in empty trading spaces according to some traders as prospective tenants look for larger alternatives.

Some traders on the north side of L Shed fear they will be facing empty stalls and blank steel walls which will almost certainly be harmful for business.

Are these reasonable concerns? Have strategies already been worked out to address these types of issues? Do the containers in SBA need to be set so far back? Are glassed wall containers economically feasible?

Sunday 23 December 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 23/12/2018

A Trader has asked what happened to Munro’s? He walked past earlier this week and noticed it had been completely gutted. No noise, and no dust. Things might change when the digging and construction starts but he is impressed with the lack of disruption so far.

Christmas BBQ – we didn’t get to press in time last week but here are a couple of photos of the action on Friday last week when staff cooked breakfast for traders. There were a number of compliments (not complaints) about the cooking and of course the big discussion on the day was – should onions go under the sausage or over the sausage?  That debate will continue.

OH&S – a trader says that forklifts being driven through the Upper Market (sometimes at speed) while traders are setting up is a real worry and an accident waiting to happen.

Containers are coming – the approval for 12 more containers in SBA has been tabled, but the plans show that only 1.8m will be available for stalls on the South side of L Shed. Traders are suggesting that is probably not enough space for trading and do the containers need to be set that far back? 
In the meantime we understand that Expressions of Interest from traders will be asked for in January, with the actual installation of containers probably happening March/April. 

Dare To Be Optimistic

The road ahead for QVM, certainly for the Upper Market, has many hurdles, but events this week give reason for optimism.

The approval of 12 additional containers in String Bean Alley doesn’t have the agreement of all traders, but it as an indication that at last this market can make a change, show some enterprise, and experiment like every major retail entity on this planet is already doing. A move forward from the stagnation of anti-renewal will delight many.

Also on the agenda this week was the first meeting of the QVM Committee of Trustees. It took place without much fanfare and that was appropriate because this was essentially a preparation meeting - introducing members, establishing some ground rules, and agreeing on an agenda for the next 12 months. First cab off the rank will be a vision for QVM. We have done this before but the professionalism, enthusiasm, and freshness that people like Sally Capp bring to the table is cause for positive expectations.

As one trader said, “I don’t remember the last time Traders, Management, CoM, and business experienced Community Representatives sat around the same table. This should have happened a long time ago.”

Maybe the rainbow in our photo of the market early on Saturday morning is prophetic. A pot of gold would be nice but traders in the top end will settle for a simple up-tick in business and a more positive way forward.

Friday 21 December 2018

Breaking News - String Bean Alley Containers Approved

Heritage Victoria has today approved the installation of 12 additional containers in String Bean Alley with certain conditions including the removal of the containers after 5 years.
Otherwise the installation will take place as requested in the application including realignment of some of the existing containers.
Full details here -

Have Your Say - click here

Sunday 16 December 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 16/12/2018

One of our caricaturists was asked to redraw a work he had done some 12 months ago. It was a caricature of a couple and the original was returned with some obvious damage. It had been ripped apart, and yes the couple sheepishly admitted that had occurred during a lovers tiff. The good news is that the couple are now married and the redraw was completed with a friendly warning from the caricaturist that he didn’t expect to have the drawing returned ever again.

A trader has asked if Bangkok’s Terminal 21 shopping centre could become an inspiration for QVM. That centre is themed like an airport terminal complete with staff dressed as air hostesses, entrances designed like arrival gates, and shopping precincts dubbed New York, London, Istanbul, and so on. It is all designed to create a bit of theatre and entertainment. Perhaps QVM could have Aussie themed precincts. K Shed could become Kakadu or B Shed Barrier Reef…. just thinking out loud.

This has been suggested before, but a trader insists we need some sort of postal hub at the market where goods could be packed and despatched as part of a push for greater customer convenience.

On a similar theme, this trader says he is getting a positive response from customers by offering official Australia Post padded bags at his stall. If the customer wants the goods sent home, he asks them to address the padded bag, he seals it in front of them, and peels off the tracking number label to give the customer. He then posts the parcel the next day.

The QVM Creek only appears at rare intervals but during last Friday evenings deluge an 8ft. wide creek between J Shed and K Shed created a problem for traders particularly those unlucky enough to have their storage boxes in the way. It was either roll up your pants and wade in, or wait for the deluge to subside. Nature just takes control sometimes.

The poor level of business in the Upper Market over the weekend has some traders wondering if our calendars are mixed up – “Surely this can’t be 10 days before Christmas?” But another trader says “Check your books. Unlike food, the two weeks leading into Christmas are usually quiet in the Upper Market but we can expect a lift immediately after as people take holidays and tourists hit town.”

Did you get a hit from German tourists on Sunday? Apparently a cruise ship hit town and many passengers ventured to our market.

A Canadian tourist couldn’t believe that she had come all the way from Canada for Australia’s summer only to find an ice skating rink sponsored by Air Canada at QVM.

Storage Box squatters have been spoiling the view in String Bean Alley by indiscriminate placement of their boxes in public areas but action by QVM staff this weekend to keep things in order has earned praise from SBA traders.

A comment from one trader that the CoM endorsement of many of the People’s Panel recommendations was most welcome (see report here) although adequate customer and trader parking remains one to watch.

Latest Retail News – 16/12/2018

1. RFG Chief Executive resigns after 8 months.
2. Laura Ashley goes into liquidation again.
3. Protests in France severely disrupt pre-Christmas trading.
4. Foodland No.1 for customer satisfaction.
5. The majority of Australian shoppers finished their Christmas shopping by last week.
6. Entrepreneur Naomi Simson says smaller retailers will band together against the big players in 2019.
7. Woolworths launches The Kitchen, a new concept store offering locally grown organic produce.
8. Ex Sainsbury’s boss joins M&S in turnaround move.
9. H&M launches gender-neutral fashion collection.
10. Amazon Australia set to launch new Subscribe & Save service to tackle grocery market.

Articles Worth A Read - 16/12/2018

Kohls A Winner In Retail Apocalypse -

50 Big Ideas For 2019 - How Australia Will Change -

GM Trader Selected For QVM Committee of Trustees

GM Trader Greg Smith will join Fleur Studd, George Milonas, Carl Greco, and Rocco Tripodi as Trader Representatives on the new Queen Victoria Market Committee of Trustees.

The Committee, appointed at the 27 November 2018 Council meeting, will provide the highest source of strategic advice to Council on both the $250 million renewal program and the strategic operations of the market.

Chaired by the Lord Mayor, the Committee is comprised of 13 members, including market traders, community representatives, independent nominees and Councillors.

The members include:
Sally Capp – Lord Mayor and Committee Chair
Rohan Leppert – Councillor
Jackie Watts - Councillor
Jane Fenton – Queen Victoria Market Board Chair
Jane Hodder – Queen Victoria Market Board Deputy Chair
Carl Greco – market trader
Fleur Studd – market trader
George Milonas – market trader
Greg Smith – market trader
Rocco Tripodi – market trader
Ian Hamm – community member
Jed Macartney – community member
Vanda Fortunato – community member

The Committee will consider matters which:
          are strategic in nature
          have a major impact on the direction of the market, including both the renewal program or operations
          relate to Council decision making about long term objectives of the market
          have a material impact on trader, customer and community experience of the market precinct.

The Committee will not consider matters which are
          commercial in confidence
          involve legally sensitive issues
          involve QVMPR Program or QVM routine operational decisions
          are time sensitive and where referral will impede innovation or entrepreneurial activity 
          involve matters pertaining to individual traders or customers
          are matters which are fully within the remit of the QVM Board

Further details about the committee can be found here – Committee of Trustees Terms of Reference.

Have Your Say - click here

OH&S - Who Decides When Conditions Are Dangerous

A real life safety situation arose during a recent extreme weather event and a trader made a decision to close their shop, but did they do the right thing?

This occurred on a 38 degree Friday but it wasn’t the heat that was the problem, it was the wind. Forty knot northerly winds were creating havoc with a trader’s stall and the potential for injury from flying fittings and stock was very real. The trader decided the situation was unsafe and closed for the day.

A fellow trader was faced with a similar predicament and rang office staff to ask if he could close. He was told that if he did close early it would be noted against his record. His circumstances were not as dire and he decided to remain open but take extra precautions to secure stock and fittings.

So, just who should make the call here? Isn't the trader ultimately responsible if something goes wrong? Should the trader be penalised if he has made a judgement call? Should there be some discussion with management before taking action? Do we need some guidelines?

Convenience Is King…or Queen

If you have watched the progress of new ways of shopping, Click’n’Collect would surely have come to your attention and there is a good reason why it might be one of those shopping innovations that sticks.

Let’s imagine a typical shopping scenario where you head off to the store to select a product. You have a fair idea of what you want but you need to find out more, do some comparisons, and generally browse the aisles for what is available. That process will take you some time, perhaps valuable business time.

But let’s say you decide to browse online the night before. You go to a website, do your research, check the options, and make a decision. Then you check the websites Click’n’Collect button with the knowledge that you simply call in at the retailer the next day, pick up your goods without delay, and the job is done.

You can see why that is becoming a popular way of shopping.  But how does that work at QVM? Does your business offer click’n’collect? Do you offer anything like that convenience? Remember that click'n'collect usually means paying in advance as well. Maybe this is a subject for your next discussion with a mentor.

Stock And Fittings For Sale

Karen and Julian from Karlian Cards will cease trading in January 2019.

If you are in the market for a new product line, or display items, pleases send Karen an email -

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Council Considers People's Panel Report

Trader,Steve, participating in People's Panel discussion.

The City of Melbourne considered the QVM People's Panel report at a Council meeting on Monday night and came up with the following resolution - 

Resolutions of the Future Melbourne Committee meeting held on Monday 10 December 2018

Agenda item 6.1
Queen Victoria Market Precinct Renewal Program – People’s Panel Final Report
1.           That the Future Melbourne Committee:
1.1.       Receives the Queen Victoria Market People’s Panel Report and thanks all panel participants for their commitment to the process.
1.2.       Agrees with seven (7) recommendations and requests management to immediately progress, namely:
Recommendation 1
Review of Infrastructure for traders (storage and amenities)
Recommendation 2
Restore heritage fabric whilst preserving and enhancing tangible and intangible cultural heritage significance of the market
Recommendation 6
Improve infrastructure and amenities in the Food Court
Recommendation 8
Provide appropriate and planned recreational space in Queen Street between upper and lower market
Recommendation 9
Develop creative spaces throughout the market to attract and retain families and better engage customers
Recommendation 12
Weather proofing of Sheds
Recommendation 14
Southern Development Site

1.3.       Agrees in principle with six (6) of the other seven (7) recommendations and requests management to undertake further analysis of three (3) recommendations, namely:
Recommendation 4
Allow for car parking spaces for vans, buses and large vehicles
Recommendation 5
Develop G Shed for various infrastructure improvements
Recommendation 7
Dedicated recycling stations ground level or below G Shed

And requests management to refer three (3) recommendations to the Board of the Queen Victoria Market Pty Ltd for its consideration, namely:
Recommendation 10
Increased customer focus for the market
Recommendation 11
Access of customers around the market and facilities
Recommendation 13
Guarantee security of tenure for traders

1.4.       Requests management to:
1.4.1.      In addition to the 500 car parks in Munro, investigate an additional 500 car parks in the precinct with the current at grade car park to become an open space once transitional parking there is no longer required.
1.4.2.      Investigate the minority report.
1.4.3.      Provide a report in the first quarter of 2019 on the further analysis of three recommendations outlined in 1.3 and investigations into the minority report, including the overall impact of these recommendations on the business case and implementation strategy.
1.4.4.      Make public the revised business case and makes public the revised gross costs of the total project (sunk costs not net budget) incorporating any new options.
Have Your Say - click here.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Heard Under The Sheds – 9/12/2018

Memories – one of our traders recalled the similarities with the old days (notice he didn’t call them the “good old days”) when times were tough, margins were tight, customers just didn’t want to buy, and traders learned to work really hard to get a sale. He says those times sorted out the real traders and he suspects current times are going to do the same.

A trader commented that the delicious uncertainty of Christmas Trading should keep our minds on our businesses for at least a few weeks.

One of our cafes ran out of food on Sunday. They are not sure why the sudden demand, but whatever the reason, it is a great sign.

Fiery Friday – Friday’s 38 degree heat (42 under the sheds?) certainly tested the comfort levels for traders and customers. But it was the strong North winds that caused a few early closures for outside traders.

Mixed reports on business from the Wednesday Night Market but we won’t keep commenting on the ups’n’downs each week – this is retailing after all.

Important Reminder - The communication to traders has risen in leaps and bounds over recent times and we see no point in repeating all the news but perhaps we can make a special mention of the free Christmas BBQ Breakfast next Friday 14th  from 6:30am in front of the Meat Hall. According to the Trader Bulletin it is to “celebrate all our hard work” so we can all feel entitled and turn up for a big feed. And we wonder who will be wearing the aprons behind the BBQ’s this year?

A trader commented that retailing is really tough right now and there are plenty of hurdles, but she feels that working for yourself still beats the hell out of working for someone else.

QVM In The News - 9/12/2018

Market chief executive Stan Liacos said everyone understood the need to protect the market's cultural heritage. “But the safety of its operations, the ...

Gary “Gazza” Rapley, from Gazza's Gourmet Seafood at the Queen Victoria Market, says since starting at the market in 1990, seafood has grown to ...

Queen Victoria Market would retain hundreds of parking bays and develop “creative spaces” to lure customers under revised options for the icon's ...

Queen Victoria Market's popularity with international tourists is growing, with ... The surveys found the market welcomed 1.5 million domestic visitors, ...

Until then, you can get festive at the Queen Victoria Market, where a massive outdoor ice rink has been installed. For the athletically challenged, ...

Articles Worth A Read - 9/12/2018

Chinese tourism is a major global force and this article from the ABC takes a look at the phenomena including the dreaded commission shopping tours.

Reading list - hopefully we will all be too busy with business over the Christmas/New Year period, but if you do expect time to read a book, here is Bill gates top 5 book picks.

Major tech advances for retail in 2019 - some of these might seem irrelevant to small market businesses, but some of them are interesting - take the predictions for Instagram growth which we all have access to.

The scientific case for eating bread - as a food staple this will be relevant to one of the world's great food markets.