Page 25 - MarketTimesDecember2019
P. 25

FEATURE • WELLINGTON 25
  Wellington Market in Shropshire was threatened with closure after the long-time private operating company went into administration. The threat prompted an outpouring of support from the local community and a new operator stepped into the breach, securing its future and promising a much-needed programme of investment. Nicola Gould reports on a heartening good news story
Wellington Market in rural Shropshire has a proud market history dating back to 1244. And the private operator that was formed to run the market many moons ago became the UK’s largest private market operator with a portfolio of 130 markets all over the country.
But times change and fortunes reverse. So when Wellington Markets Company went into administration the future of the market was uncertain and traders were worried that a lifetime of building successful market businesses could come to an end through no fault of their own.
Many of the traders have been on the market for 20, 30, 40 years or more and had put their hearts and souls into their businesses.
The community in Wellington was also horrified at the prospect of losing their market which had a special place in the
town’s history and their hearts. Herlander Alcobia, the young market
manager, said all the traders were devas- tated and very worried about the future.
“What was so frustrating was that this is such a good market with so many great businesses. The people of Wellington support their market and couldn’t bear the thought of losing it,” he said.
“We received so many calls from members of the public expressing their support and asking if there was anything they could do to save the market.”
The local newspaper reported the efforts of an 11-year-old schoolgirl, Anna Wysome, who wrote to the manager, spoke to traders and designed a poster promoting the advantages of keeping it open.
Anna told the newspaper: “I think the market is a really friendly, communal place and I wanted to tell people how much it means to the place.”
Anna said she was worried about the competition from companies like Amazon and online retailers that meant people don’t need to walk into the town centre.
“So I wanted to do something to help save our beautiful, historic market,” she said.
The administrators put the market up for sale alongside Morley Market in Leeds and Luton Market, which were also run by the Wellington company, better known to market people as Town and Country.
“We knew that there were two potential buyers but even so it went down to the wire,” Herlander said.
On the final day Castle Point, an inter- national property company with main offices in New York and Israel, emerged as the purchaser.
It would be their first venture into markets and the Wellington market community was hugely relieved but naturally a little apprehensive about
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