Saturday 20 April – Markets and a Zone meet up

Author: Mr A

Location: Eumundi & Kenilworth

We had heard so many good things about the Eumundi markets, it was time to see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Apparently they started with a couple setting up a craft stall, and have grown to over 650 stalls with over 1.6 million visitors a year. I love their branding: ‘Make it, bake it, grow it or sow it”. Every kind of artisan product can be found here, with an emphasis on locally made and grown.We were soon sampling a plate of Tibetan dumplings, I had an Argentinian empanada which was simply delicious, also some dairy free donuts packed to go. We then spotted the Japanese pancake stall, we had not seen these since Sydney. Wow…a taste sensation.Suitably sated we picked up a small bowl from a pottery stall we could use a mortar, plenty of peanuts and chillies to grind up for our Pad Thai creation for instance.

Some unusual stalls caught our eye, a woman sporting a snake around her middle for instance! Musicians were everywhere, and pretty accomplished ones at that.

What a great market! All too soon we thought we should head back to camp, we decided one more run down the Mary river was called for.We all then started to prepare the camp for tonight’s visitors from Zone RV. They had kindly offered to give up their Saturday afternoon and evening and have a bit of a chat with us about our experiences with their products and service.It was great to hear Dave Biggar, one of the directors, talk about some of the initiatives they are taking to mature their build processes and strive to offer even an more consistent quality experience to their new customers. He was joined by key members of the Zone team in customer support, systems improvement and marketing. There were 14 customers there, and all of us really appreciated the effort the team made to come and meet us and openly discuss where they were at as a business and seek input from us on their initiatives.One of the customers, Phil Clem, had a surprise for everyone as darkness drew in. He had brought along an enormous hollow tree trunk to burn on the campfire, and had taken the trouble to carve out ‘Zone RV’ into the side with a chainsaw, so when the fire really got going the letters shone out. What a star.

It seemed a fun and educative night was had by all, and we were very grateful for the effort they made to come out and visit. Their journey to being a leader in the industry has not been an easy one. They have pushed the boundaries on design with materials and finish. That doesn’t come easily, and clearly there have been some significant hurdles along the way. But these guys have pushed through and are now at the stage where they just need to bed down this innovation with robust processes allowing on time, on spec builds at the lowest cost to them and their customers. We think they will do it, and are proud to have been a small part of their journey.

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