He has been a mainstay at the Old Bus Depot Markets for over two decades but Jo has poured his last juice at the popular weekend destination in Kingston.
Nearly 25 years ago, Josip Sladic set up Jo’s Juice at the markets, totally unaware of how successful his little stall would turn out to be.
“I was doing all the markets around town back then,” Mr Sladic shared. “The Old Bus Deport Markets was an undercover venue and the owners were lovely ladies so I decided to put a stall in. It was a way to make a living and to provide something that is real.
“You can’t get more real than juice from the fruit. I really enjoyed the social side of it and interacting with customers and it was a really pleasant experience.
“All the old stalls are leaving one by one and being replaced. All things must come to an end eventually I guess.”
The decision to leave wasn’t of his own making as the Old Bus Depot Markets’ new owners decided not to renew his lease. It might have left a sour taste in Mr Sladic’s mouth, but the news has brought an outpouring of love from the customers that have become his friends.
“I am a local Canberran for more than 20 years and coming to the markets is part of my life. There have been stall holders there for as long as I have been going,” loyal customer Charnelle said.
“These stall holders become friends and are the very fabric of the place. The value of people and the love and care they put into their products and services is what has made the markets what they are.
“I enjoyed my last glass of spiced apple and I cried a little when I finished it. I gave Jo a hug and told him how much he meant to me.”
Ken said his family travels from Wollongong on a regular basis to sample Jo’s delicious mulled wine while Eloise said Jo’s Juice stall was one of her main reasons for coming to the markets.
“I have been a regular visitor to the old bus depot markets for several years – and the thing I look forward to most (and a driving force for me to actually visit) is either an apple cider or lemon honey and ginger drink from the OJ store,” she said.
When queried, a spokesperson for the Old Bus Depot Markets told Region Media that the markets regularly reviewed its arrangements with vendors to ensure they offer visitors the best possible products and experience.
“The Old Bus Depot Markets has enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with local and regional vendors in the Canberra community for over 24 years,” the spokesperson said.
“While the Old Bus Depot Markets does not comment on specific business operations, more broadly, when managing the vendors the Old Bus Depot Markets considers legal obligations and regularly reviews its arrangements with vendors to ensure we offer our stallholders and visitors the best possible products and experience.
“We are sure Jo enjoyed his last market day on Sunday the 30th of June. We wish Jo all the best with his future endeavours as we are sure he will be moving on to bigger and brighter things.”