The centre of the Bad Godesberg outdoor market is dominated by a modern style type of fountain where kids are playing around. The parents can easily watch them while having a coffee from the mobile stall or in a café next to the market. Bicycles can be seen all around where there is space, some of them with carts to take children along.
Everything is relaxed, people are meeting and talking with each other. A very picture book type of setting especially when the sun is shining. And the audience is fairly international.
No rush for shopping.
The shopping experience
You get everything when it comes to daily food. There is fresh fish, meat, sausages, game meat, bakery goods, vegetables, fruit, honey, organic food, Spanish delicacies, flowers etc. A large variety indeed. Is there a stall sticking out of the couple dozen or so? Not really, most of them have really friendly vendors who give good advice on their products. Not all the stalls sell own products, but the quest for quality is visible. And only a few stalls provide food ready to eat, like the one which offers fried Spanish snacks.
As it was pumpkin season, there were a lot spread across the market. Some were painted with smileys. A discovery was the new variety “microwave pumpkin” (see picture gallery above). The lady selling them indicated that she just named them like this as they are really good for microwave cooking. Still she prefers them out of the oven.
The Spanish delicacies guy
The owner of the Spanish delicacies stall had enough time for a chat. I knew him from the Bonn main outdoor market. As that market was started being managed by a private company (Marktgilde) instead of the city itself, he preferred to leave it, as he did not like is new location within the market.
For him being at a market gives him more flexibility than having an own shop with fixed opening hours. He has also reduced over time the number of staff and as an end result he has a better work life balance. Something market vendors will probably have hard times to actually find in their lives, as most of them work hard.
He sells a lot of cream cheese type based delicacies nicely mixed with other ingredients, but also Aioli, warm tapas, filled peperoni, wood oven bread and more. He is great at giving generous samples. Maybe this is the reason why even children come and spend their pocket money.
Distinguishing from the supermarkets
The Bad Godesberg market is rather focusing on quality than price. And this is how the vendors are trying to distinguish themselves from supermarkets, which they clearly see as competition.
The lady from one stall explained that she specializes on potatoes and onions only, as she can clearly provide quality through this focus. She has established relationships to some farmers in the area who are able to provide the right products. The stall is already handed by the 3rd generation of owners. Somehow they must have an idea on how to keep their business successful as both products are rather commodities.
Another vendor, purchases his vegetable & fruits on the wholesale market in Cologne at selected dealers (similar to the guy at the Porz market) to ensure quality. This is being done in the 4th generation. He offers a rather very wide choice instead of being specialized as the potato/onion lady. The larger main market in Bonn wants to gain him as a vendor in order to increase the overall quality, but so far he has resisted.
And there is again the Spanish delicacy guy who offers is own unique food selection, since around 10 years on this market. His selection is certainly not be found that easily in supermarkets, therefore attracting a crowd longing for something different.
These are three different strategies of vendors on how to stay successful. The mix of classic, if not traditional products and some innovations like Spanish specialities or “microwave pumpkin” will (hopefully) help to keep the loyal customers and attract new generations.
All in all: The Bad Godesberg market expresses a very relaxed ambiance where people have a coffee, meet friends and shop for good quality products.
A little link list:
- The vendor website managed by the fish monger with the listing of all the vendors: www.unser-wochenmarkt.de
- List of the markets in Bonn (pdf)
- More pictures on my photo site