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Beloved Jo’s Juice squeezes last orange at Old Bus Depot Markets

Lachlan Roberts 11 July 2019 212
Josip Sladic

Josip Sladic served his last orange juice at the Old Bus Depot Markets on 30 June. Photo: George Tsotsos.

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.”

Jo the orange juice guy

Sladic: “All things must come to an end.” Photo: George Tsotsos. 

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.”

Jo during happier times. Photo: Supplied.

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.”


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212 Responses to Beloved Jo’s Juice squeezes last orange at Old Bus Depot Markets
Stefi Ross Stefi Ross 3:22 pm 04 Aug 19

I think he should offer orange juice and mulled wine at the fyshwick market.

Stefi Ross Stefi Ross 3:20 pm 04 Aug 19

How come there're couple offering orange juice at the OBDM?

Sandrine L'Australienne Sandrine L'Australienne 3:32 pm 21 Jul 19

Bye bye Grumpy Joe

Nerrida Cooper Nerrida Cooper 7:52 pm 20 Jul 19

Julie Cooper

Barbara Gough Barbara Gough 9:14 pm 19 Jul 19

I make sure I get a juice each visit, how can they not renew the lease, sell out to a higher trendy cafe!!?? Sad that the markets are loosing what they were originally all about, local craft and foodstuffs. Too sad.

Maureen Sims Maureen Sims 7:38 am 19 Jul 19

The best juice and in winter mulled wine

Eliza Jane Eliza Jane 1:28 pm 18 Jul 19

Vanessa Beck this was my favourite thing about the OBDM 😭

Gabriel Volpato Gabriel Volpato 10:50 am 18 Jul 19

Hi Everyone, I am replying to most of the photos and comments that are driving misinformation about us, so you might find the same statements elsewhere.

My wife and I (yes, the ones pictured in some sneaky photos published on these threads) own the Spritz&Co stall.

I didn't really want to comment on these threads, but after too many people have been taking photos of us and thrashing us for no reason, I feel like this is going a bit too far and I should clarify a few things that may or may not directly relate to all your comments. This hopefully will avoid the breeding of more misconceptions arising from some of these threads across facebook:

*** No, we are not owned by Old Bus Depot Market management. We are husband and wife trying to launch our own crafted winter drink. We literally just started trading last month when participating at The Forage with our stall.

*** No, we don't work for a multinational. We are a family run small local business just starting up, and we are proudly Canberra based.

*** No, we are not hipsters following a trend: the culture of the Spritz dates back to the mid 1500's at the time of the Serenissima Republic of Venice

*** No, we have absolutely nothing to do with the issues between Jo and the management of OBDM. We are new, so new at the markets that we don't even know what the heck is going on and now we reading all these comments and going: "WTF?". (We had our stall at OBDM on another section three weeks ago and everything seemed normal to us, but now we are being dragged into the mud, basically as a scapegoat)

*** No, we didn't offer more money for rent in order to take away Jo's stall. In fact we pay our fee as everyone else and we were told to set up in there just because of the weather forecast of that weekend (we were meant to be outside otherwise), and that one was the only space available as we don't have a regular allocated space yet.

*** No, we can't pick and choose where to set up. That is decided by management.

*** The "sterile-looking" stall (as it's been addressed on other pages' threads) might have looked not as good as usual because we generally set up with a 3x3 marquee and a whole concept, but this coundn't fit in that narrow space so we had to re-arrange and improvise last minute with what we had at hand. We'll try our best next time.

*** No, we are not regulars at the OBDM, we also do other markets around Canberra depending on availability and circumstances.

*** No, we never wanted to "replace" Jo's stall, in fact we certainly do not serve regular mulled wine as he does, nor fresh orange juice.

*** No, they didn't kick Jo's out to make room for us, there are other issues of which we are unaware and are being disputed in court. Seriously, no idea!

*** No, we are not Jo's competition, we make a totally different drink, in a totally different way.

*** Our (as someone else on another thread defined it) "supermarket looking" product cannot be purchased anywhere else other than from us at the markets, as we are the only people in the whole freaking world that dare to attempt turning a popular summer drink into a winter one. Which, let me tell you, this is quite a challenge on its own. Let me assure you that we use good quality wines, good quality spices and good quality oranges, we mull it fresh overnight every night before the market, while everyone else is either having a good time 💃🥳🍻💏 or sleeping 😴.

*** We serve it from hot-water urns instead of stock-pots because the original Venetian mulled drink recipe we follow to craft it requires us to literally set it on fire when it reaches the boiling point, in order to burn off the alcohol, and, although the flame wouldn't be strong or high you must understand that we can't do that in a public place. ("Spritz Brulè", the name of our signature hot drink, means in fact "Burnt Spritz"). The second reason is because we like to carefully filter it before serving it, so our customers won't get any spices floating in their drinks, which otherwise in our opinion would be unpleasant. The third reason is that by using the urns we can control and select specifically at what temperature we serve our drink, this way it's never too hot or too cold, but just right on point where we believe it's the perfect serving temperature. The fourth reason is because urns have breathing lids that protect our products from possible insects and dust, the use of urns also allow us to be a bit faster with the service, so we can promptly serve our customers without having them freezing while waiting in line for our drink.

-Honestly we really do appreciate the support you guys are giving to Jo's, and please keep doing it as that's why being part of a community means so much to people, and that's great, but it's not fair that we get thrashed with insensitive and uninformed comments for no reason, you don't even know us or give us a chance? Aren't we part of the community too?

Be mindful also all the other stall owners at OBDM that are coping with all this mess are going to be affected by these threads. Aren't they part of the community too?

Please remember, we are NOT responsibile for the dealings or issues that arose between Jo and the management.

That said, we would love to have the chance to tell you all in person why we do what we do, how we do it, and, moreover, we'd love to get you to try our own crafted drink before judging it. We'll be making it fresh the night before🌃, as always. 🤗

By the way, or either way, no hard feelings from our side. 🤙

P.s.: I purposely decided to comment with my own personal facebook account rather than using our official Facebook page so you guys can see that we are real people, and not the "evil monsters" we've been described.

Nicole Sims Nicole Sims 10:07 pm 17 Jul 19

Tasha McNee heartbreaking

Bella Jackson Bella Jackson 6:24 pm 17 Jul 19

What the hell!?! Shame bus depot!!! 😡

Josip Sladic Josip Sladic 4:22 pm 17 Jul 19

The owners of the markets are Niravong and Liu. They also own a chain of supermarkets that specialise in products of Chinese origin.

Jim Hosie Jim Hosie 9:07 pm 16 Jul 19

‘Beloved Jo’s juice squeezed out of Old Bus Depot Markets’ that was a gimme. Shame that the new owners don’t value history or respect the patronage of those who’ve bought juice from him over the past decades.

Debbie Henson Debbie Henson 8:06 pm 16 Jul 19

So very disappointing

Good luck Jo

Kate Waterhouse Kate Waterhouse 5:23 pm 16 Jul 19

Such sad news. We were regular customers. Josip was always friendly & his drinks were fabulous. Don’t think we’ll bother with the markets from now on.

Caroline Knell Caroline Knell 4:02 pm 16 Jul 19

Out of interest, what stallholder process did he not comply with when given the termination notice back in Sept 2018?

BrianMarilyn Garratt BrianMarilyn Garratt 1:31 pm 16 Jul 19

Do hope you are successful with being reinstated - you deserve to have your stall where it has been such a favourite for so long!

Your customers will follow anyway if you have to set up in a new venue!

Good luck!

Miriam Alford Miriam Alford 11:32 am 16 Jul 19

Maybe he can set up at the weekly Farmers Markets at EPIC, and maybe Woden.

I'm sure the customers and other stallholders would love it.

James Webster James Webster 8:55 am 16 Jul 19

The owners of the venue aren’t renewing his lease because they are greedy and are going to put their own juice stall in.... it makes me sick how some people are so greedy!

Anita Laney Anita Laney 8:17 am 16 Jul 19

Poor decision by owners. Shame 😒

edge88 3:58 am 16 Jul 19

The owners clearly have no concept in what Canberrans find special – relationship, soul, history. If you are granted a piece of history, treat it with respect. Fools.

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