Page 8 - MarketTimesApril2016
P. 8

He feels the market has the right mix of stalls, but food is its backbone.
The fact that the market is run by traders for traders is a huge bonus, he said.
“Traders have a vested interest in the market doing well. We know what works and we try to keep rents reasonable.”
He says the market is the town’s lifeblood.
“Time and time again we are asked by shopkeepers to open the market on more days.”
At the moment it opens on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Mark says they have thought hard about it but the general feeling is that having limited market days makes it an event and opening for more days would not increase takings over the week.
Blackheath has plenty of top quality food stalls and a wide range of non-food lines including niche businesses — there is even a hairdressers.
Michael Cooper, who has sold shoes on the market for 35 years, originally stood on the outdoor market and was delighted to move indoors when the extension was completed in June 1998.
“What makes this market so good is the number of top quality food stalls,” he said “The rest of us ride on the back of them.”
There is a fish man, three fruit and veg businesses, an excellent butcher and a top quality poultry business.
The other unique selling point is the friendly, personal service, Michael says.
“We and our customers know each other by first names and we are now serving children of customers we remember as children.”
And, of course, there is a lot of heart in this market. Michael has raised a total of £4,595 in recent years for the West Midlands Air Ambulance — just from his stall.
As you might expect, many of the traders are second or third generation.
Jade Banks runs Maggie’s Confectionery, the sweets business her nan and grandad used to run which dates back to 1946.
And Dave Price has been selling poultry, eggs and cheese on the market since 1983. The business was started by his father, Gordon, 60 years ago.
“We know all our customers. We look after them and they look after us,” he said.
“A good market business doesn’t happen overnight. You have to build it up over years.”
And traders like Sally Stokes, who runs The Pet Stall, and Dave Sewell, who started Dave’s Deals on the market a year ago, are aiming to do just that.
Sally used to run the market cafe and fancied a change, whilst Dave has a mobile market business selling frozen food, and decided that Blackheath was the perfect market for his first market-based business.
“I took a look at this market and liked the look of it and the feel and the footfall. It’s got a lot of character as a market should,” he said.
“It’s a throw-back to how markets were 20 or 30 years and that’s what attracted me,” Dave said.
And that’s why the Yam Yams like it so much.
  Dave Price has been selling poultry, eggs Sally Stokes has moved from the market cafe to run The Pet Stall on Blackheath market and cheese on the market since 1983
 l Market Days: Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays
l Market Rent: From £40 to £160 a week depending on size and location of the stall
l Blackheath’s claim to fame: Blackheath is a small town in the borough of Sandwell in the Black Country. It grew in the nineteenth century into a dormitory town for the surrounding industries which included coal mining and quarrying. More recently it has been important for manufacturing and electrical engineering.

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