Page 17 - MarketTimesAugust2016
P. 17

 Tooting is on the turn
Changes are afoot at Tooting Market, one of two indoor markets just metres apart in the south London suburb recently described by a national newspaper as “property gold”. Nicola Gould takes a peek
 It’s now a familiar London story. For whatever reason, gritty, working-class neighbourhoods like Hoxton, Shoreditch, Hackney, and most recently Peckham, catch the eye of a canny clique of property developers.
Before you know it they are transformed into the haunt of hipsters and well-heeled young professionals, with eye-watering property prices that few locals can afford.
Tooting, a solidly working-class suburb of South London where new London Mayor Sadiq Khan grew up, looks set to follow that pattern.
And Tooting Market, one of two indoor markets that are just a few yards apart on
Tooting High Street, is at the forefront of change.
Roi Mengelgrein, the market manager who has spearheaded the transformation of the market since a new owner took over in 2010, is adamant that the market will retain its traditional character.
It will be a balancing act, he concedes. But the trick will be to resist the temptation of renting out more and more units to eateries and bars.
There is already a gin bar distilling its own gin; a wine shop and bar that hosts pop-up chefs; and trendy eateries that attract a very different, more discerning customer into the market than in days gone by.
Sunday and evening openings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays signal changing times for Tooting market.
Not that anyone, least of all the traders, would want to go back to the noughties before the new operator bought the market.
Roi, who had recently left Camden where he helped run The Stables, the last four years as manager, jumped at the invitation to run the market which had been acquired by a family friend.
But improving it was a daunting challenge. Roi said: “It really was in a bad state. I felt I was being punished for some sin I must have committed in a past life.”
The market comprised around 20 units at
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