Monday, May 12, 2014

Not Understanding Your Customers

Yes, big markets should be more like 7-11. That's definitely what the customers are there for.

Some vendors inside the market are concerned that the closure of a section of 7th Street SE on weekends to accommodate outdoor vendors is hurting the business of the indoor vendors. Customers, they argue, have to park several blocks away, creating a disincentive to visit the market for their food shopping. So they've crafted a proposal to re-open the street on Saturdays, increasing the supply of nearby parking at the expense of perhaps a few dozen vendor stands on the street.

Bill Glasgow, who runs Union Meats and serves as the indoor vendors' delegate to the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, says weekends account for 70 percent of vendors' sales, but that business drops off considerably on rainy days because people can't park close enough to the market.

Glasgow counters that there are more than 200 vendors, and given the high turnover among them, the loss of 30 wouldn't make a big difference. He'd like a system, he says, that's more like 7-Eleven, where customers can park briefly to pick up their groceries.

Business drops off on rainy days because, you know, people take transit and walk there. It's a 'fun thing to do on a nice day' experience, not a 'drive in to pick up your meat' experience.