Page 26 - MarketTimesAugust2016
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brings people into the market because he thinks it is an asset to the shopping centre, with quirky, independent shops.”
And it’s hard to argue with that view. The market has 50 retailers in a total of 114 units with just one vacant unit, which is unlikely to remain empty for long. With so many household names and big chains in the malls, shoppers discover some refreshing, independent businesses in the market, offering something that little bit different.
There is everything you would expect in a market — and quite a lot more besides.
The traditional market offer includes meat, fruit and veg, groceries and bread. Ian Elcoat, a market trader for 34 years, has made a success out of Spend & Save, the groceries business he took over from a friend 12 years ago.
“It hadn’t been doing so well, so I made some changes to make it more like a market business,” Ian said.
He took down shelves that made it feel like a shop and created an open market stall look. But the key change was buying at the right price.
“People who shop here are market people and they want market value,” he said. In recent years Ian has expanded into a new unit, invested in improved flooring and a till area and opened a new side to Spend & Save selling frozen goods.
Another food business, Browns fruit and veg, has also capitalised on shoppers’ preference for market produce at market prices.
Leanne Brown said: “My husband Steve and I both come from market fruit and veg families and Steve works in sales at the fruit market in Gateshead.”
They began their business in the Market Village eight years ago because they wanted a market where they weren’t competing with family members.
“It was the best thing we ever did,” said Leanne. But both the Browns and Ian work long hours — 18 hours a day, sometimes seven days a week, says Ian.
Niche businesses do well at Washington Market.
Chris Simpson has been on the market since day one and has plenty of loyal customers who get their shoes repaired and keys cut by him.
Mohammed Aslam also took the plunge with his ladies fashion business at Washington when the market opened, according to his son, Farook, who now helps run the business.
There is a popular wool and haberdashery business called Plain & Purl. Hippydrome,
  Karen Carr, the market manager, is pictured with Craig Taylor (right), Area Manager, and Matt Steele, National Operations manager of Geraud Markets (UK)
Ian Elcoat, pictured with daughter Katie who works in the business, has expanded his groceries stall, Spend & Save, to include a frozen foods corner
 Chris Simpson has done well in Market Village since he took the plunge and started his own shoe repair and key cutting business in the market when it opened
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