Seattle street paper visits Megaphone

Tara Moss, the vendor coordinator from Seattle's Real Change, talks with Megaphone and Hope in Shadows vendors. Photo by Paul Ryan.

 

Hope in Shadows and Megaphone were visited yesterday by Real Change, Seattle’s street paper.

 

Vendor coordinator, Tara Moss and one of the top vendors Susan McRoy made their long trek across the border to let us in on their ‘trade secrets’ in a vendor training workshop at the Interurban Gallery. 

 

Real Change has grown to the ranks of becoming one of North America’s top selling street papers, averaging close to 80,000 papers a month. The workshop was attended by vendors of Hope in Shadows and Megaphone and emphasized the importance of building a strong customer base.



Real Change vendor Susan McRoy shares the secrets of her trade to Megaphone and Hope in Shadows vendors. Photo by Paul Ryan.

 

For many vendors, their jobs serve as their main source of income and having the opportunity to connect with another street paper proved to be an informative session. A few also had their poems published in the recent special issue of Megaphone, complete with literature from Downtown Eastside residents and past photographs from the Hope in Shadows calendars.    

 

Having a strong relationship with your customer, McRoy says, has an important impact in sales. More often than not, “it’s not the spot your in,” McRoy says, “It’s your connection with people.” Hence, even small details like being polite, waving hello, smiling to people who walk by, can go a long way. 

 

Real Change vendor Susan McRoy shares the secrets of her trade to Megaphone and Hope in Shadows vendors. Photo by Paul Ryan.

 

In addition to courteous interaction with costumers, McRoy adds that to build a strong cliental base, patience is a key component. Despite slow points during in the day, sales can pick up at any time and having that patience can lead to meeting the monthly quota. Having the patience to stay on the same turf, is an especially important skill. 

 

Staying in the same spot, with positive customer interaction, allows for people to recognize and remember a vendor next time, building their customer base and increasing sales. This is why, McRoy explains, 80% of the time she is concerned with future sales, avoiding feeling defeated from less than positive sales. This training session was sponsored by a grant by Vancity.

 

Many thanks to Susan and Tara of Real Change for their excellent workshop and to PHS Community Services Society for allowing our vendors to use the Interurban for the training. 

 

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V6A 3E9
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