Page 7 - MarketTimesDecember2015
P. 7

  Wending its way through the town centre every Wednesday and Saturday, Braintree market is a popular attraction that the locals love. NICOLA GOULD pays a visit and hears about plans to regenerate the town centre, with the market at the heart of things
Braintree Market has flourished since the town in north Essex was granted its market charter by King John in 1119.
A lot has changed since then. A burgeoning wool industry came and went, followed by silk manufacturing. These days Stansted Airport is the biggest employer.
But the market has remained the beating heart of the town — a traditional, general market where locals can buy everything from household goods to the weekly food shop.
It’s not an artisan food lover’s paradise, or the place to shop for twee nick-nacks.
But for traditional market quality and value it can’t be beaten.
The traders are mainly long-established professionals who put on an impressive flash and pride themselves on the quality of what they sell — from plants, fish, meat, and fruit and veg, to niche businesses and some excellent clothes and fashion lines.
The market comprises more than 30 stalls that weave along a semi-pedestrianised area from Market Place near the town hall, along
the cobbled Great Square and up Bank Street. Richard Lightly, who sells fruit and veg;
Andy Baxter, who sells plants; and outdoor clothing trader Mick Baglow, are typical salt of the earth traders.
Richard followed his father into the business and the range and quality of his fruit and veg is a good draw at one end of the market.
Andy’s plants, in a tiered display at the other end, bring a flash of colour to the market scene. Mick Baglow, Braintree’s longest established
trader, has made a good living from selling outdoor clothing for 43 years.
“My father and I worked together on this stall,” Mick said. “It’s different now than it was all those years ago when we didn’t have the likes of Primark and internet shopping, but this is a well-run market and it’s in the right place on the high street.”
Long-standing traders like Richard, Andy and Mick say they are happy with the level of trade at Braintree.
And others with a good few years of trading under their belt also fare well on the market.
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