By Jack Hayes
Queen Victoria Market (QVM) is preparing for its biggest summer yet with the return of specialty retail shops and stalls, a four-week food truck festival and the launch of online shopping platform “Queen Victoria Market Online”.
Following the easing of state government restrictions with regards to retail and hospitality, the market will see the long-awaited return of speciality retail stalls and shops, cafés and restaurants.
Visitors will be encouraged to explore the extensive range of locally- and Australian-made products and seek out those who showcase unique craftsmanship and authenticity across clothing, homewares, jewellery, skincare, plants, art, books and more.
The market’s cafés and restaurants will also welcome back dine-in customers. Those reopening include Spanish tapas bar El Ricón; Sri Lankan street food and curry experts Drums Café; Turkish gozleme and kebab specialists Market Kebab Café; Japanese-inspired sand- wich bar Meet Sando; and the market’s fresh pizza and pasta makers, Café Verona.
For the 200 small businesses returning to QVM, the return to trade presents an opportunity for locals to support the city’s small and family-run businesses who have been at the heart of Melbourne for generations and are among the hardest hit.
Second-generation stallholder Ben Borynsztein and his family have called QVM home for the past 47 years.
Restrictions saw Mr Borynsztein increase the online presence for his women’s footwear stall, Planet Shoes, as the only way to support his growing family.
“The past seven months have been extremely difficult. With face-to-face customer service, the main driving force of my business, income has been very low,” Mr Borynsztein said.
“It has been hard to maintain a consistent customer base, but online sales have helped support my family – wife, daughter and newborn son – during what has been our most challenging time.”
“Between my father, uncle and brother and I, we collectively have more than 100 years’ experience selling footwear at QVM. It means so much to our family to finally be able to return to the market, our second home.”
Mr Borynsztein said he needed the help of Melburnians now more than ever, and by shop- ping local, customers were supporting so many small, family-run businesses.
QVM CEO Stan Liacos said the announcement came as reassurance for traders who had been eagerly anticipating the return for months.
“The return will see QVM spring back to life with all areas of the market open for shopping and dine-in hospitality. It comes as a welcome relief for our speciality retail shops and stalls in particular who have been the hardest hit over the past seven months,” Mr Liacos said.
“I invite all Melburnians and Victorians to come and rediscover the market and support local, Melbourne businesses.”
In what will be welcomed news for many locals, summer will also see the return of street food dining at the market.
Following in the footsteps of the ever-popu- lar Winter and Summer Night Market, “Festive Food Truck Stop at Queen Vic Market” will bring together a collection of Melbourne’s favourite food trucks with street food from across the globe.
Running every Wednesday 5pm to 10pm from November 25 to December 16, the Festive Food Truck Stop will be the markets first return to nigh-time trading since March.
Visitors will be able to satisfy their street food cravings, indulging in everything from bao buns, burgers and tacos to mac-and-cheese croquettes, smoked barbequed meats, mango lassis and more.
The market will be showcasing an all-Victorian beer garden line-up with Brick Lane Brewing beers, Coldstream Brewery ciders, a range of Mitchelton Wines and cocktails.
If you are not able to venture down and walk the under the 142-year-old sheds and stalls, the market is bringing your favourite traders to you with a new online shopping platform, “Queen Victoria Market Online”.
Melburnians are now able to shop more than 2000 products from 45 of their favourite QVM traders for fresh vegetables, meats, seafood, wine, beer and more.
The new service features same-day delivery for orders placed before 10am on market days for more than 150 Melbourne suburbs.
Customers can also click and collect from a conveniently located pick-up zone in the market’s car park between 12pm to 7pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 12pm- 5pm on weekends.
Traders that will be on the online platform include Alec Watson & Son Butchers; Gunday’s Fruit & Vegetable; ReWine; The Apple Corner; The Epicurean; QV Nut Co.; and George the Fishmonger.
For more details on the market’s return of retail, the Festive Food Truck Stop and QVM online, visit: qvm.com.au