New boss has grand vision for Market
BARELY three weeks into the job as general manager of the Adelaide Central Market, Jodie Kannane has been finding it hard to do her shopping – stallholders and customers are so keen to stop for a chat.
“I go out to buy some fruit and it takes me 45 minutes,” she said.
But that’s part of the job she is enjoying – understanding the soul of the market.
“My first month is making sure that I have touched base with all the traders and the other stakeholders,” she said.
Ms Kannane had been worried they may not be keen to share their points of view, but has been pleased at how welcoming people have been.
“It doesn’t mean that they are not going to challenge me,” she said. “We will have some robust discussions over time – but these are traders who’ve been here for generations, who are passionate about what they do and have tremendous depth of knowledge as to how the market works and who the shoppers are.”
Ms Kannane has always lived in Adelaide and enjoys being part of the world’s fifth most liveable city. “It sounds like a statistic but it’s a great place to live and work,” she said.
With a background in corporate retail and in tourism with Sealink, Ms Kannane is sensitive to the market’s heart in our community, but also as a unique city produce market.
“It’s not a shopping centre,” she said. “The vision of the market is to be the world’s leading fresh food and produce market.
“Although the market has adapted over its 150-year period, and we need to make those adjustments to meet consumer needs – like eateries … the vision remains the same.
“We don’t want to change the soul of the market. That’s why people come here.”
Some of the challenges ahead include Sunday trading – a trial was recently vetoed by a meeting with traders’ representatives.
Ms Kannane acknowledged that trading hours in general are up for discussion.
“Shoppers are changing the way they spend their time and money,” she said. “We’ve had a significant amount of increasing competition over the years: Supermarket upgrades, new supermarket chains, Uber eats, OTR. We need to make sure we are really considering what that competition looks like, without changing the soul of what the market is.”
The other challenge for the market was redevelopment in surrounding areas, both near the market and the city around it. “We need to work well with the precinct and … out to the city of Adelaide,” she said.
FRESH IDEAS: The Adelaide Central Market’s new general manager Jodie Kannane with some of its top-quality produce.