Page 17 - MarketTimesDecember2019
P. 17

        It has been a bumpy ride for the traders ideas man, and a complete gentleman. He and when Ken came up with the idea of
on the renamed Par Market, for many
years one of the most successful markets in the country.
Traders who have been on the market from its inception recall the heady early days when the market was so crowded “the only way to get in was to walk on people’s heads”.
The market suffered serious flooding in November 2010, then a venture called Cornucopia, which aimed to reinvent the market as a food hall and entertainment destination, complete with a Cornish pasty museum, closed after just six months.
Fortunately the owner of the site, Ken Govin, stepped up to the plate and took over its running. That was 18 months ago and now the market is almost full again, the crowds are flocking back and a new entertainment area will soon be up and running.
Ken was the former market trader who made it all happen, according to John Snowball, who used to trade alongside him and took over as market manager in the early days.
He describes Ken as a brilliant market trader, a consummate market operator and
has golden memories of when they used to trade alongside each other. A fellow trader on the same markets was Chris Dawson, who went on to establish The Range, the multi-million pound national household goods chain.
John hails from a mining family in County Durham and became a linen auctioneer after watching a trader “coining it in” selling linen. A fitter and turner by trade, he found his true calling while staying in Torquay and spotting a crowd around a linen unit.
“I spent the whole of one day watching this linen trader auctioning towels, with his constant banter and queues of people laughing with him and buying his goods,” John said.
“I worked out how much he was making and I knew I could do the same so I asked him for a job.”
Within a few years the trader had retired and John took over the business.
“I was in my element, dressed in shorts, taking my lorry on the road from Bristol to Penzance auctioning linen on all the summer markets,” John said.
He and his wife opened several shops
building an indoor market in Par, a small Cornish fishing village with its own harbour near St Austell, John was there to see the first nuts and bolts put in place.
“There used to be two open markets in Par on either side of the road,” John said. “This plot of land came up for sale and Ken decided to put his neck on the line and go for it.”
He created Cornish Market World, a vast warehouse-style building with parking spaces for 2,000 cars.
Explaining the rationale, John said: “Ken is a market trader through and through — he understands markets, what market shoppers want and how to deliver that.”
The location was perfect. “Cornwall is at the end of the M5 and over the years the big boys haven’t troubled to get down this far,” John said.
“We have a massive influx of tourists in the summer months, which has grown dramatically thanks to TV series like Poldark and Doc Martin,” he said.
“And Cornish people are cute. They are shrewd people who like a bargain, a bit of banter and a good shopping experience, and they don’t like being ripped off.”
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