Rosebank Craft mkt

Posted On Friday, 17 August 2001 03:01 Published by
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Rosebank could be a model for more projects involving hawkers

Rosebank could be a model for more projects involving hawkers
Rosebank, the business centre between the Johannesburg and Sandton central business districts, appears to have turned its controversial African craft market into a winner. Planners say they have created a model for converting street hawkers into successful formal traders.
About 150 hawkers were moved from the suburb's streets last year as part of a plan to halt rising crime, growing office vacancies and failing retailers.
Bruce Jones and Macdonald Nkosi . . . most traders are happy
They were relocated to their own two-storey building, next to Rosebank Mall. Though the local business improvement district paid for the new building, monthly rents of up to R1 100 led to predictions of mass failures.
Ivan Pachonick, retail head of property managers JHI and of listed Cenprop, the market's owner, says the doubters have been proved wrong. 'But we had to throw the standard retail manager's manual out of the window to do it,' he confesses.
'Many of our tenants do not speak English. It is pointless signing standard leases and we have to be super-tolerant about people struggling with a regular monthly rent for the first time.'
Pachonick called in B&B Markets, which had turned Rosebank Mall's Sunday market into Johannesburg's most successful. Director Bruce Jones says B&B started by treating the hawkers like any prospective tenant. 'We organised a full-scale presentation and invited them in groups for tea at the Gauteng Tourist Association auditorium. We also applied the same strict selection system for their merchandise as we do for our other markets.'
But it wasn't all plain sailing, he adds.
Now, however, there are 82 traders on the craft market ground floor, sharing 72 stalls and paying rents of R912-R1 140. Smaller traders are grouped upstairs, where they rent 68 shelving racks like those in a home industries shop.
Profits aren't huge yet but are expected to improve as the market becomes more established. Jones estimates most traders sell R3 000-R4 000 of goods each month.
The head of the internal traders' association, McDonald Nkosi, says not all traders are doing well, but most are happy: 'It is sometimes difficult to pay the rent on time and we have had to adjust prices. But we are saving money on not having to store our goods away each night or having to pay for help. And we no longer have to bring equipment as there is no need to set up our stalls every day.
'We have become shopkeepers.'

Publisher: Financial Mail
Source: Ian Fife

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