Have you noticed changes at West End Market at Davies Park?
In December 2020, Brisbane City Council awarded Goodwill Projects Pty Ltd the five-year contract to manage the Saturday markets at Davies Park in West End.
Goodwill was one of five tenders for the role and took over from the previous management team, Blue Sky Events Pty Ltd., just four weeks ago.
Change can be exciting. It can also be tricky, especially where there are friendships and loyalties involved. When I spoke to stallholders at Saturday’s market, some had happily embraced the change, some were neutral, and others said they would wait and see.
One of the City Council’s criteria for managing the market is a demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the surrounding community through the market. The Goodwill team told me they are keen to show that they are there for all marketers and shoppers.
Mark Power is the on-ground presence for Goodwill at West End Market, communicating with marketers, farmers, and customers. His role includes liaising with community groups, Souths Leagues Club, managing parking, and ensuring the market operates per Council provisions.
Mark told me that Goodwill already has many markets across Brisbane and has established relationships with many of the stallholders who operate at West End. Their priority is to get to know the other permanent stallholders, and to attract new vendors.
Mark’s Saturday starts at 2.30 am, so he meets the marketers when they start arriving at 3.00 am.
“It can be a bit nerve wracking having to be somewhere at three o’clock in the morning, in the dark, in the rain, so we try to give them assurance by being here when they get here at three.”
Mark told me that West End Market is seeking to attract more stallholders.
“Coming to the markets is not hard. Opposed to perhaps leasing a shopfront paying a big deposit, mortgaging your house, doing shop fitouts, and guarantees, you can pop into your local market for a few $100 that includes all your insurance, site fee, and a gazebo. There are so many people who have amazing skill sets, who perhaps don’t want to be in the rat race, or who want to make something or provide a service or product and they don’t realise that the market is a viable way of getting your passion off the ground without having a lot of risk.”
The market will have a mix of permanent and casual stallholders. Goodwill wants to ensure permanent marketers are looked after and to provide more casual spaces for occasional marketers.
Addressing parking and traffic congestion
Parking and traffic congestion are significant issues for the markets and across West End on Saturday mornings.
Mark said that West End Market is keen to work with all market users to reduce traffic congestion on local streets by supporting active transport. He said they had reached some terms with Neuron scooters, and they are hoping to work with other active transport providers.
“Uber has been excellent to this point where we’re providing subsidised trips for people that are living within ten kilometres of the market.”
Helena Brown, Projects and Business Development Manager with Goodwill Projects, said working with Council on public transport is also definitely on their agenda.
New name, new logo
Helena Brown said that all of the markets managed by Goodwill carry the name of their suburb.
“We think it gives the community a bit of sense of ownership of the market.”
The market will now be known as West End Market and has new Facebook and Instagram profiles. Some of the stallholders told me that the latest social media strategy is working, and they have noticed an increase in market-goers in the past few weeks.
The new and the old
You will also notice more signage at the market, making it easier to find ATMs and other amenities. You might also have noticed that more vendors are using EFTPOS, something that the Goodwill team has assisted them to adopt.
The market will enable political parties and community groups to have a presence at the market as they have in the past. Old and new buskers are also welcome, and the Gypsy coffee van will continue to provide live music.
Helena lives locally, and the team has employed two other locals for the markets.
“Usually, the entire team is local. Tom and Stevie joined us last week and we’re looking for one more team member,” Mark said.
“A market has got to be underpinned by its community, and we have to listen to that. People who are in the community are best placed to know what the movements are and what people are enjoying and are not enjoying.”
Your feedback and new ideas are welcome.
West End Markets, Davies Park, Montague Road and Jane Street, West End
Market Times: Every Saturday from: 6am – 2pm
Phone Number: 0435 840 810
All images by Jan Bowman