written by Rebecca Goulter
Everyone knows Harry as the happy-go-lucky seller of sausages and smallgoods every weekend. His loyal customers insist that his is the only stall in the markets you need for a top notch feed. We sat Harry down for a good long chat about life at the markets.
1. How long have you been a Stallholder at Brisbane MarketPlace?
Sixteen years. I’ve been here for a long, long time. I think by now I would know over 1,000 customers. I can’t remember everyone’s name, but I know their faces. Some of them have been coming to the market as long as I have.
2. What made you decide to start German Wurst Haus?
I started trading at the markets way back in 2001 as kind of a hobby. It was easier to set up a market stall back then. You had an idea and you made it happen! I saw it as an exciting challenge and good fun. Everyone was telling me, “Yes, Harry, this is something you can do”. German bratwurst stalls are huge at home in Austria and since I was a boy I grew up with them in the markets. I wanted to bring that bit of home with me to Brisbane.
3. What did you do before the markets?
I worked at a smallgoods factory in Yatala, which is family run. I am still part of it today! I sell their products at the markets. You can either buy them freshly cooked or take some home for cooking during the week.
4. What is the best thing about having a market stall?
Oh, I am always excited for the weekend. When Friday comes around and I start setting up my stall I am saying in my head “Come on Saturday”. Of course, I like having a successful stall that has lasted almost 20 years, but I am proud of what I do and always looking around the market, asking my customers questions and seeing how I can improve. I never would have thought that what started out as a hobby would be going so well today!
5. Why do customers keep coming back to your stall?
People like to come to my stall because it is a friendly, old-fashioned market stall. It’s what they grew up with when they went to markets. I love to interact with all my customers and always see what I can do to make it better. I talk to everyone, no matter who they are or what they look like – I always like to talk. I’m not just selling food, I’m selling my passion!
6. What surprising lessons have you learned over 16 years at the markets?
I have learned so, so many things. I learned never to argue with a customer if they come back and say my food is bad. I listen to them and find out what they didn’t like about it. This is good because then I let the folks at the factory know and sometimes they even change the recipe!
Also, you can never judge how a market day will turn out. Even if it’s rainy you can still have a really good day, so never give up. I try not to let little things like that get to me. Some days are good, some days are bad. It’s what working at the markets is all about.
7. What is your number one best seller?
Cheese kranski. It never goes wrong. You can get a whole bucket full of kranskis from me! And bacon, everyone loves bacon. Sometimes I wrap kranski in bacon! I sell a lot of deli products on Saturday too. People are addicted to my kranski and want to take them home and cook them during the week.
8. Do you think you’ll ever retire?
I have stuck around this long because I love it and I love my customers – I could never leave them! I would feel too guilty.
There it is, folks. Our bet is you’ll still see Harry at the markets in another 16 years. The market just wouldn’t be the same without him!
You can visit Harry at German Wurst Haus every Saturday and Sunday, 6am to 12pm. If you haven’t already, give the cheese kranskis a try. We have it on good authority that they can’t be beaten.