The Jakarta Post | Feature | Fri, March 01 2013, 12:48 PM
The Jakarta Post visited a number of traditional markets to see how they are struggling for survival in the face of fierce competition, particularly from big, modern supermarkets. This report and related stories on the next page
were jointly prepared by Utami Diah Kusumawati, Sebastian Partogi, Nadia Sarasati, Muhammad Edy Sofyan, Khoirul Amin, Haeril Halim, Aswiditiyo Nedwika and Arfan Wiraguna.
There is nothing majestic about this particular market, either from the building design or the way shoppers and traders interact. But Pasar Mayestik, which completed a major makeover in June, is trying to live up to its grand name by leading the fight among traditional markets in the city for survival.
The only way to compete against the onslaught of modern supermarkets and hypermarkets, and the hordes of street vendors, is to become modern and shed the “traditional” tagline.
Pasar Mayestik in South Jakarta is doing just that, going for cutting-edge technology as part of its management tool. Pasar Grogol in West Jakarta is trying to change the image of traditional markets as dirty, wet and smelly by consistently winning the Adipura award for being the cleanest market in the city.
But studies offer a gloomy outlook for traditional markets.
A 2004 AC Nielsen study, quoted by the SMERU Research Institute, found that modern supermarkets in Indonesia are growing at a rate of 31.4 percent a year, while traditional markets are declining by 8 percent.
Old markets are not necessarily doomed, if they fight back.
The most likely scenario is that some of these markets will continue to serve residents although they have to share with the likes of Carrefour, Lotte, Hypermart and Giant, which are backed with huge capital.
Luckily for them, they do not need to reinvent the wheel. There are examples to follow, including Mayestik and Grogol.
PT Metroland Permai, the private developer which handled the Rp 358 billion (US$36 million) renovation of Mayestik, has turned the once old and decrepit two-story market into a modern seven-story building with two basement floors, all complete with elevators and escalators, ample parking, CCTV and clean toilets.
Metroland also provides telephone and Internet connections for traders and helped set up and run the Twitter account @pasar_mayestik and Facebook account Pasar Mayestik for traders to communicate and serve their customers better.
“We want our traders to improve their quality and services so they can compete with the modern markets,” Irfan, a spokesman for the Metroland office in Mayestik, says.
Renovation is continuing and Metroland is eyeing an adjacent plot that it hopes to turn into a park to complement the market, Irfan says.
Mayestik got its name from a movie house that operated in the area during the Dutch colonial days. A market that developed in the area after 1955 took up its name and has since grown to become a major shopping area in the elite Kebayoran residential area. Some expats can even still be found doing their shopping in Mayestik.
The original movie house has long closed, and the plot is now
occupied by the Anggrek bookstore.
It’s hard to keep everyone happy, though, and there are losers as well as winners after the renovation. One insider says as many as 40 percent of the original traders did not return because they could not afford the new rent or the price of a kiosk, even after discounts were given specially for old tenants.
Pasar Grogol, meanwhile, defies the stereotyping of traditional markets by paying special attention to hygiene and cleanliness, as
well as offering a more secure and safe environment. It is now also becoming family-friendly by introducing leisure activities within the compound.
In 2012, the market won its fourth Adipura award as the cleanest market in Jakarta, but this time more in recognition of its waste management system.
Outsourcing is not a dirty word when it comes to hygiene, as PD Pasar Jaya, the city-owned company managing Pasar Grogol, has contracted private company PT Dela Santika Napiah to handle and treat some 4,500 meters cubic of waste each day. The company separates the trash into organic and non-organic and decomposes the organic waste into fertilizer and sells the non-organic trash to waste collectors.
PD Pasar Jaya unit in Grogol head Gunawan cannot emphasize enough the importance of hygiene for shoppers and traders alike. “Cleanliness is a prominent factor in creating a sense of comfort for everyone,” he says.
Pasar Grogol, however, is not easily accessible by public transportation and therefore will have to rely on the patronage of the more wealthy residents, who will most likely prefer to shop in modern supermarkets. Currently, 30 percent of the 1,000 kiosks are vacant.
Gunawan is not giving up. Last year, he created an area for table tennis in the center of the market, and a children’s playground as well as
futsal arena on the third floor.
Only time will tell whether Grogol and Mayestik can survive the competition and reclaim some of their old glory days. — JP