Page 43 - Market Times February 2014
P. 43

  Former miner Mike Jones has given his family business a new lease of life by expanding into personalised baseball caps and t-shirts which are selling like hot cakes to young people
  Charlotte Emery and Rob Harper are the market officers who ran Hanley market before a reshuffle
Dave Plant has expanded to take on a second sweet stall at Hanley market selling just pick and mix
Market officer Charlotte Emery, who ran the market with her fellow market officer Rob Harper until a recent reshuffle, said: “The market is definitely in the right location. It is the regulars who keep coming back who make it what it is. But we are also having success attracting new shoppers including coach trips from Shropshire. We offer market vouchers to encourage the coach visits and we are working hard to link up with local schools to get more schoolchildren into the market.”
Traders like Muj and Ehsan are key to attracting more young people into the market. “Our products are very popular with young people,” said Ehsan.
And Mike Jones, who recently branched out from selling personalised gifts such as mugs to offering airbrushed baseball caps and t-shirts, is also helping to bring new young blood into the market.
A former miner, Mike has run his personalised gift business with help from his family for 13 years.
“I decided to have a go at airbrushed products which is a teenage thing and it has really taken off. Word spreads among the young by word of mouth and the result is that many more young people are now discovering the market,” he added.
Serving the other end of the age scale is Jimmy Lee, who took over a mobility business
three years ago.
“I was working as a managing director for a
number of restaurants and a customer who ran this business suggested I take it over,” Jimmy said.
It made sense as Jimmy’s wife-to-be was a buyer for Help The Aged, and the couple were like ships that pass in the night, with Jimmy working long hours including nights. Three years on, the business is thriving and the market is remaining true to its roots by providing a value for money service for everyone from the very young to the elderly.
The last word on Hanley market has to go to sweet man Dave Plant, who has been selling sweets on the market with his wife, Janet , for the past 28 years.
Warm, friendly, with a spring in his step and a word of welcome to every passing shopper, Dave believes Hanley market and the market industry in general has a bright future.
He recently opened a second sweet stall specialising in pick and mix, which is doing well. “This is an excellent market with so much potential,” he said.
Privately owned by Intu Shoppping Centres and run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the market is warm, bright and well maintained, with every stall looking smart and eye-catching.
There is a waiting list of traders to get on the market and Dave says the atmosphere is
friendly and positive, with traders helping each other and the market management keen to do all it can to boost trade and support traders.
“Some people say that markets are in the doldrums and town centres are dying, but they aren’t. They are reinventing themselves from the market out. You have to move with the times and market shopping will just get better and better,” he said.
 FACTS & FIGURES
 l MarketDays:MondaytoSaturday l MarketRent:Rentisfrom
£138.63 a week
l Hanley’sClaimtoFame:Hanleyis
one of the six major towns of the Potteries that joined forces in 1910 to become the city of Stoke- on-Trent. It is the city’s main shopping centre. The once plentiful potteries have now dwindled and the coal mining industry has disappeared, but large enterprises such as JCB and Alton Towers are big employers.
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