Page 44 - MarketTimesDecember2015
P. 44

Visit Penkridge Market in south units on both market days. just about anything there.
The success is very much down to the Williams family, who own the market site and have run the market since 1992.
Matt Williams, who manages the market, takes up the story.
“My grandfather, Arthur Williams, bought the site in the 1930s for a cattle market,” he said.
When family members decided to sell it in 1992, their plan for housing fell through, so Matt’s parents stepped in to buy it.
“My parents decided that if they were going to make a go of the site they needed to be running the market,” Matt said.
The cattle market finally closed in 2001, but the general market continues to flourish.
So what’s the secret?
There’s no big supermarket in Penkridge, which probably helps the market. But, as Matt points out, the majority of shoppers travel to the market from as far afield as Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Walsall, passing plenty of supermarkets on the way.
The answer must be that they like the atmosphere of the market and the offer, which is traditional but very diverse — you can buy
Staffordshire and take a trip down
memory lane — back to the good old days when markets were thronged with people and traders rarely complained about their takings.
Located on a former cattle market that was originally water meadows running down to the River Penk, it is an unlikely market success story.
Despite its ancient market charter dating back to 1244 and the reign of Henry III, the market had disappeared by 1831.
Penkridge is not much more than a large village, without a significant catchment of shoppers.
And the parish had survived without its traditional market for nearly 150 years, until 1978 when a local enterprise persuaded the owners to allow them to re-launch the market on the site. The original market had been held at the other end of town.
Now, according to most traders, the market thrives, with the free on-site car park packed with cars most Wednesdays and Saturdays and the market full to capacity with 100 stalls and
“People seem to like it because, being just two days a week, it is an event — somewhere to go and something to do,” said Matt, who took over as market manager in 2009.
His parents, Mike and Liz, are still very much involved. Mike runs South and Stubbs, a land auctioneers. On Wednesdays he runs a poultry auction and the clucking of the hens adds to the atmosphere.
Liz launched a thriving craft and fine food market in 2004 in one of the sheds. Between 20 and 28 traders stand it and it adds to the diversity of the Saturday market.
The traders praise the family and their running of the market. They say that if there is ever a problem, they will pull out all the stops to sort it out.
The market comprises gazebos and traditional stalls spread over the sizeable site, which is all hardstanding.
The sheds provide cover for a number of stalls and there are eight units created in one shed as part of a programme of investment that Matt instigated when he took over as manager.
The market had started to look a little shabby,
   Ex-pub landlord Ben Rabbits has built up a new business on the market selling the pickled eggs, onions and jams he makes himself, as well as local honey and chilli products he imports
Anita Gough has run her father’s burger and refreshment van for the past 20 years — with her dad’s support
Alex Shaw does well at Penkridge market selling rugs and dog beds
 Graham and Tricia Dugmore have run a popular fruit and veg business on the market for the past 34 years
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