Waterfront Night Market boost visibility for niche businesses
It’s almost been a year since the revival of the Apia night markets entered the city scene and its popularity with lockdown-weary locals has continued to sustain the monthly event into 2022.
As well as being a fun filled evening for family, friends and groups to look forward to at the end of every month, the Apia Waterfront Night Market has also become a testing ground for many vendors.
Both established and emerging small businesses have found the monthly event to be a very valuable platform to develop their marketing skills and test their products on a wide range of demographics.
Shiloh runs a small baking business called Sweet Cloud and is a regular at the night market displaying an array of delicious goodies at her stall.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to showcase my goodies in our night markets because it allows me to see what the publics preferred sweet palate is” Shiloh says. “I have attended all the night markets and it’s been a good venue for me to make a little extra cash and at the same time get feedback about my goodies on a big scale.”
Owner of Taumeasina Restaurant and Bar, Toleafoa Losalia Norito, agrees with Shiloh’s sentiments saying the advantages to selling at a high traffic event not only gives her business more visibility and much needed income but is also an opportunity to get in amongst the social event for a bit of entertainment.
“The night markets have been an avenue for us to know what the public prefers in terms of food because at the moment we only do bookings, especially since we close during the week,” said Toleafoa.
“The night markets have also helped us in terms of making a little extra cash before the weekends and also its better than sitting home lazily on a Friday night, for me it is good to get us out of the house to earn just a little more for our employees”.
Representing Savaii businesses at the Night Market are the Vaimoana Seaside Resort staff who have also been regulars, offering some of their signature dishes. Co-owner, Rosie Vaai said she particularly enjoys the impact of the Night Market in bringing people together after a tough year.
“The night markets have been a way for us to bring families and friends together to share good food” said Rosie. “It’s also become a great form of exposure for us especially with Covid restrictions, we haven’t had many events but these night markets are a way for us to get together and for our customers here in Upolu to have a taste of Vaimoana.”
Aleisa Coffee, a family owned business has been around for over 25 years and in the last two years, Precilla Betham-Tau’a relocated from New Zealand to take over the business operations. Precilla has found the Night market to be a successful platform for promoting their business and getting to know the local market.
“When I came to Samoa I thought to myself my father has a product and all we need to do is figure out a way to make it better and more appealing to the different markets including the cafes” said Precilla. “ So we’ve found that coming to the Night Markets every month has been awesome for gaining exposure for our brand and advertising to potential customers. With this ongoing Covid lock down we’ve had to rely on the local market and since we have been coming to the market, we are getting our name out there and being noticed by our locals. “
One of the main attractions at the Waterfront Market has been the giant bouncy castles and waterslides that have provided hours of fun for young children and given parents an opportunity to relax and enjoy the atmosphere themselves.
Owner of Happy Kids Samoa Bouncy Castles, Leituala Joe Chan Ting has been operating his business since 2009 and the last two years during the Covid restrictions have seen his business decline in sales due to social distancing policies.
“Despite going through these rough patches in the last two years we still did our best to push our business out there for locals to know what we offer” said Leituala. “Even though everything has been downsized thankfully this event by Samoa
Tourism Authority and Samoa Hotels Association have helped bring in a little more revenue for us.”
“This not only helps get money for maintenance and to pay our staff but the night markets also help us to reach our target market which is 3 to 12 years old and having events like this helps generates demand.”