Minh Si remembers when the now bustling West Aisle was completely empty – apart from his stall.
“We were the first ones in this aisle when we moved here 10 years ago,” says the owner of SMM Mobiles, who has traded at the Market for 15 years.
After completing a degree in computer science and working in the corporate world, Minh was starting to look for something else to do when a relative – who worked at a market in Sydney – suggested opening a stall at South Melbourne Market.
“Back in those days, we had to get here at 5am if we wanted a casual stall that day,” recalls Minh, who was trying out other suburban markets at the same time to gauge demand and demographics.
He settled on South Melbourne Market and now has a loyal clientele who visit to find accessories for their smartphones such as flexible tripods and bluetooth accessories, along with replacement chargers, cables, batteries, screen guards and other necessities. SMM Mobiles is also their first port of call for repairs, with individuals dropping off phones that need fixing, while companies bring in bulk orders.
“A business with a lot of employees dropped off nearly 100 phones the other day,” says Minh, who prepares the phones for their next users.
“These days we are also fixing a lot of phone cameras,” he says.
“In the summer, people jump in the pool with their phones still in their pockets, and in the winter they get wet from rain, so we fix phones damaged by water all year round!”
Apart from the fact that there is no upfront charge, Minh’s customers appreciate the service he provides, and he in turn appreciates them – in fact, he says his clientele is what he loves about working at the Market.
“Our clientele expect a lot from us, and they get a lot,” he says. “People appreciate good work and that’s what we provide. Our customers understand that they are getting good quality for their money, and we pride ourselves on being able to give it to them.”