National Business Manager Francesca Laspina Featured in Rocklea News Article
THE Rocklea Markets will unveil its museum later this year, focusing on the culture and colourful characters of the iconic site. Southern Star reporter Angela Ranke visited the markets to meet some of the workers. Standing in the thick of it all is market stalwart Dario Vescovi who has been selling at the site for 44 years. He says he absolutely loves the markets. ‘‘People say when are you going to give it away and I say ‘probably when I die’.’’
He says he’s never seen the industry so bad. Big retailers are squeezing the small play- ers out and people aren’t spending as much. Most of the action happens in a three-hour window be- fore sunrise when workers unload, sell, buy and bargain for produce that will eventu- ally end up on kitchen tables in southeast Queensland. It’s a complex game where quick thinking counts. The best among them is Robbie Man, known as ‘‘the Gunfighter’’ by his mates because he doesn’t second
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guess any of his decisions. ‘‘It’s all about the people and the commerce, the great equation of life,’’ he says. ‘‘Every day is different and every season is different.’’ Mr Mann starts work at 3am, seven days a week, almost every day of the year but says he wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. ‘‘There’s nothing as interesting as doing this,’’ he said. There’s no sign of the flood- waters that inundated the site in 2010-11. He’s not dwelling on the
negatives though, preferring to focus on the resilience of the workers in bouncing back from hardships. ‘‘The beautiful thing about the markets is we all got together and cleaned it up and were all back trading within 48-hours.’’ Francesca Laspina, a third generation grower, has grown up at the markets. She says they are a resili- ent, tight-knit bunch who band together when things get tough.