Page 17 - Market Times February 2014
P. 17

The Guildhall market has stood the test of time and thrived, despite a disastrous fire in September 1972 when a fan over-heated, causing damage that took 20 years to put right.
The market has changed with the times. It was once a mainly food market with butchers and fruit and veg aplenty.
Now there is a much wider mix of food, crafts and gift stalls, with some very successful niche businesses including an impressive hardware business and reputedly the best haberdashers in the South West.
The market is all about quality.
Mike said: “There really are some excellent businesses in here and it is the wide mix that works so well.”
Typical of the quality offering is Gillards,
a coffee shop established in 1886, which sells a fine range of coffee roasted in Bath and is in demand from locals and across the West Country.
“We also sell our coffee in London and we have mail order customers from as far away as Russia,” said Cassie Deacon.
Then there is Nibbles Cheeses, a high quality cheese and cooked meats stall run by Paul Deacon and his business partner Stephane Gouzien, which was established 36 years
Cassie Deacon sells coffee at Gillards (right), an institution in Bath since 1886
ago and acquired by Paul’s father-in-law 29 years ago.
The haberdashers that started on a single barrow at the market entrance and now stretches across half a dozen stalls along the back of the market is also a magnet for shoppers from far and wide.
Jane Griffin, who has managed the business for the past 19 years, said: “The business has mushroomed since I started running it. People come from a wide area and there is nothing we don’t sell in the way of haberdashery — or can’t get for them.”
The market’s hardware business, run by Kanta and Michele Dicorato has also thrived and expanded to include electrical goods.
Manager Steve Bishton said: “This is a good solid business and our customers keep coming back.”
And the costume jewellery business run by Gina Tinne is a magnet for young and old, with a glittering array of necklaces on offer.
“I sell jewellery of all ages for all ages, from 50 pence in my bargain basket to £50,” said Gina, who runs a successful business without recourse to a mobile phone, a laptop or a computer of any kind.
“When people say they’ve got to get back to
answer emails, I think how glad I am that I don’t have to,” she said.
Linda Rugg, who helps out at Skoobs, a second-hand bookshop she has handed over to her son, Stephen, also believes in traditional market trading.
“My grandfather started selling second-hand furniture on this market after the war,” she said. When her father took it over, second-hand books crept in, and Linda dropped the second- hand furniture when she took over because she found books easier to handle.
“This is a really good market with a friendly atmosphere,” said Linda. “But I am concerned about the big redevelopment plans. Stephen is the fourth generation to run a business in the market and I hope there will be a future for him.”
Karen McStravick is reassuring about the plans for the future. Although they are at a very early stage, the aim is to enhance the area as a destination for shoppers and the market should benefit, she says.
So, after more than 900 years of busy market trading, the future looks bright for Bath Guildhall market — and positivity prevails.
    FACTS & FIGURES
 l MarketDays:Mondaysto Saturdays
l MarketRent:Rentisfrom £2,000 to £16,000 per annum, depending on size and location
l Bath’sClaimtoFame:Bathisa World Heritage Site, thanks to its largely intact Roman Baths and its magnificent Georgian architec- ture. It has a burgeoning service sector, a growing information, technology and creative industry sector, and millions of tourists visit the city every year.
Linda Rugg continues to help out at Skoobs, the market’s popular second-hand bookstall, since handing over the baton to her son, Stephen
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