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A Day in the Life of Prahran Market

Monday 15th June 2020

As you wander through the aisles of Prahran Market, you see our Traders working at their stalls and all the delicious produce for sale. But what happens behind the scenes? 

To give you some insight to the ins and outs of running Melbourne’s oldest food Market, we had a chat to some of the team in the Management office to get the lowdown.

Rise and shine!

If you think that opening at 7 am is an early start, you might be surprised to learn that some Traders arrive much earlier. Usually, it’s the fishmongers and butchers who arrive between 3 am & 4 am, followed by our fruit and veg Traders from 4.30 am. They’ve either come with fresh produce from the Melbourne (Epping) Market, perhaps the Melbourne Seafood Market, or receive it straight from the producer via our loading docks. They breakdown their deliveries to fill their windows and displays for the busy day ahead, with the remainder being decanted into the coolrooms you see throughout the Market.

Our cleaners

Health and safety in a food Market is a priority, so our cleaners also arrive at 4 am to unlock the Market for Traders, and make sure setup runs smoothly and without causing too much mess. Once most of that is done, they (again) wash all the floors and clean the bathrooms before the doors open to the public. Throughout the day, our cleaners check and clean the bathrooms and empty bins at least every 30 minutes, as well as general cleaning throughout the Market. Since COVID-19, there has been more frequent sanitising of high-touch points, and the bathrooms are deep cleaned and fogged when the Market is closed.

Love food, not waste

Sustainability is also something we’re very passionate about, and we’ve been at the forefront of recycling and waste-diversion for many years. We’ve even started doing tours to show people our behind-the-scenes sustainability processes! The waste and recycling area is attended between 4 am – 8 pm on Market days, and all waste types are separated and placed in individual areas to be processed or collected. Did you know that the waste from fruit, veg and fish bones is made into rich, garden soil food, right here at the Market? You can get a small bag in exchange for a gold coin donation at the cart in Market Square (use it sparingly – it’s strong stuff!).

Our Operations Manager oversees all of the above as well as security, maintenance and the many other day-to-day projects that keep him busy. He’s doing a pretty great job, don’t you think?

Our Marketing team

Now, Prahran Market wouldn’t be the Market it is today without our customers and incredible Traders. Our Marketing team works hard to communicate to both. This ensures everyone is kept in the loop about upcoming events, operational changes to the Market, latest news, and so on. There’s been quite a bit to communicate over recent months, and we’ve done our best to ensure you’ve all been advised as clearly as possible and in good time.

Communication with customers is achieved in a number of different ways, including our three social media channels, the Prahran Market website, our ‘Market Table’ e-newsletter and our quarterly ‘The Feed’ newsletter, which is delivered to 40,000 local households.

Our content is aimed at providing value for you; whether it be seasonal recipes, interesting foodie hints and tips, information on our Traders or any new developments happening within the Market. We also love to see your purchases and delicious dishes you make from Prahran Market produce, so we often reshare shopper posts through social media to inspire fellow food lovers. Make sure you tag us @prahranmarket so we can share it.

But how do we stay in touch with our Traders? We have a fortnightly Trader newsletter that gets handed out and emailed around. We also spend a lot of time walking the Market floor and chatting to Traders face-to-face; it’s the best way to find out about new products, interesting news, upcoming launches, and the like.   

The Marketing team also plans all of the Market events, like the Say Cheese Festival, Sizzlefest, kitchen demonstrations and live entertainment. Flagship events such as Say Cheese can go into planning phase 12 months in advance, but, as a small team, we can work quickly to pull off events with minimal time too – activations in the kitchen can sometimes come together in just a couple of days!

Food Lovers’ Direct online marketplace

Recently, we launched our e-Commerce marketplace, Food Lovers’ Direct, which has been an interesting, challenging and rewarding project. We moved quickly to put it together due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so that our Traders could continue trading and our customers could have produce delivered straight to their door. The Marketing team has now successfully transitioned more than 40 Traders onto the platform, which has seen over 1,300 products photographed logged and available for you to purchase securely, right now.

Our Management team

But what happens up in the Management Office, you ask? Our Management Office is located on the mezzanine level above Market Square and is attended seven days a week. Among many other things, our Duty Manager answers customer queries in-person, on the phone and via email, and maintains the lost property register. They also handle Trader queries, distribute their mail and process rent.

Sometimes, people have simply ‘lost’ their wallet or glasses in their bag, but if something is really missing, we love nothing better than to reunite people with their lost belongings, especially when it is something of sentimental value. The most rewarding is reuniting lost children with their parents (that’s not to say we haven’t had the occasional lost adult!); it’s often easy for parents to get distracted by all the deliciousness surrounding them at the Market. 

Closing up for the day

At the conclusion of trade each day, Traders and cleaners are busy sweeping, washing and tucking everything away for the night. The cleaners come through for a scrub of the floors, clean the bathrooms and touch-up any high-touch areas needing attention.

Our commercial tenants above Market Square and along Commercial Road tend to stay back a little later, and it’s not unusual for them to still be here at 8 pm or 9 pm. You may not have realised that we have accountants, architects and a music studio here too. Make sure you look them up if you’re in need of any of those services.  

Then it’s lights out and alarms on until the following morning.  

See you at the Market!

So there you have it – a busy day in the life of the Prahran Market. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of what goes on behind the scenes, and that you now have some insight into the hard work our Traders and staff put into make your Market experience the best one yet.

Ready to shop with us? You can check out a full list of Market Traders here, or browse select items from your favourite store online through Food Lovers’ Direct

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