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Market stands the test of time

03 Apr 2019

Market stands the test of time Image

By Sean Car

Having now been operating for a decade, the Docklands Sunday Market has overcome numerous obstacles over the years to become a weekly institution for locals and tourists.

Located on NewQuay Promenade every Sunday, the free market has undergone many changes both in its offerings and its location since it was established at the old Waterfront City piazza in 2009.

And in spite of all of its challenges, it has stood the test of time to become a much-loved asset to our community and the only regular local initiative to have endured.

The market’s founder Eileen Fiederling, who still spearheads the initiative today, has worked tirelessly over the years to sustain the market in Docklands. She said that, while the constant moving, dealings with council and often turbulent winds had all tested her team’s resolve, the biggest challenge continued to be adapting to a transient Docklands community.

“It originally began as a collector’s market, which we changed after a year a half to a variety market,” she said. “We found that we were getting a lot of enquiries for things other than crafts and Docklands wasn’t really wasn’t the place for recyclables so we changed tack and called ourselves a variety market. Now we call ourselves a boutique market!”

“We’ve changed with what people want rather than anything else. We’ve always found that the very thing you think is going to work doesn’t work and the thing that you don’t think will work is always the one that will work!”

Now a “boutique market” well positioned on the waterfront between Harbour Esplanade and Berth Restaurant along NewQuay, the market has overcome every challenge to become a weekly staple in the heart of Docklands.

According to Eileen, the market has also helped create a bit of “colour and movement” for local restaurants every Sunday in what has become a collaborative relationship. She said the market strictly hosted small snack food and beverage stalls to ensure there was no competition and always encouraged visitors to support local restaurants.

Offering everything from clothes, jewellery and accessories to candles, soaps, skin care products, handicrafts and artworks, she said the market was constantly changing its offering to ensure it had something for everyone.

“I believe that convenience to the city, the fact that you can take a free tram down and all people visiting Melbourne love the idea of the Docklands is what’s made it work and we find most of our customers are tourists,” she said.

“We’re not a static market in the sense that it’s always the same. It’s ever-changing. We have people coming and going, some people do well, some people don’t – so we just find what works and what doesn’t work.”

Eileen admitted that the disruption caused by the City of Melbourne’s decision to tear up the old NewQuay boardwalk to make way for bluestone paving had proven a major setback since it was completed last year – something it was still recovering from.

She also said the area badly needed more drinking fountains and a public toilet, with market-goers often forced to buy a coffee or food just to use toilets inside local restaurants.

While it continues to work through its share of challenges, Ms Fiederling said the market had simply “stuck at it”.

Offering very low rates for stallholders, she said the initiative continued to attract an eclectic and happy bunch of people who showcased our city’s diversity.

This month, the market will host a special Easter market with the Easter Bunny giving away mini chocolate eggs, which is sponsored by MAB Corporation. There will be no market on April 7 due to the Run For Kids event.

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