Page 34 - Market Times February 2014
P. 34

  Ipswich market manager Kevin Walker is pictured with Mike Young, the fish man who helped to keep the market going when it became trader operated
Mike Young’s stall
Ramparts where there used to be 84 stalls.” The council’s decision to move the market to
the civic centre site was disastrous, according to Mike.
“At the time the council didn’t seem to care about the market, and when we were down to around six stalls we got letters telling us of their intention to close the market,” he said.
Although just a handful of traders were left, they were solid businesses and the Dunkirk spirit prevailed.
Mike and his fellow traders approached the National Market Traders Federation for help, and they succeeded in launching their own trader-run operation.
“It was hard work, but we were able to keep the rents down and any profit at the end of the year went back to the traders,” said Mike.
By 2002, the council had had a change of heart, and the market relocated to its natural home, Cornhill, an attractive, pedestrianised square bounded by grand old buildings including Ipswich Town Hall and the old Post Office.
It is a natural thoroughfare for the town’s shoppers and they swarm through the market, not always, but occasionally, stopping to pick up a bargain on the market.
And it’s bargains they are looking for, according to Mike.
“Ipswich people don’t have masses of cash to spend, so they are looking for a bargain, and the traders give them what they are looking for,” said Mike, who admits he still gets a great buzz from setting up an attractive stall and selling to regulars, some of whom he remembers as children.
Mike could have gone into the family’s betting shops business, but he helped out on a friend’s market stall one day and got the market trading bug.
“It’s not an easy life. I am up at five in the morning,” he said. “But it’s a great way to earn a living.”
Mike says the word has spread about the great value offering at Ipswich Cornhill market, and shoppers come from far afield to shop there.
Mitch Lloyd describes Ipswich shoppers as
very loyal. “This market has a lot going for it,” said Mitch.
Following the trader-run operation, the council put the market out to tender and private operator Groupe Geraud ran it for five years.
Ipswich Borough Council took it back in- house a couple of years ago and the traders have plenty of time for the new market manager Kevin Walker.
“Kevin is doing a great job,” Mitch and Mike agree.
He regularly goes the extra mile to help out, even occasionally serving on the stalls if traders need a hand, as Lucy Thompson, who runs a busy flower stall, can confirm.
Lucy married into market trading and she loves the life, despite having left a good position as a hotel marketing manager.
“I love meeting people, so this is a great place to work,” she said.
Carlos, as he is universally known, is also happy in his work running a ladies fashion stall after following his uncle into market trading.
Michael Catchpole has recently
taken over Cox’s fruit and veg from
Mick Cox, for whom he worked for 25 years

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