Page 3 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
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Times FEATURES
February 2020
             ON THE COVER
           An old banana and cucumber warehouse in trendy Seven Dials near London’s Covent Garden has been transformed in a £4 million makeover that has created a fine food and drink emporium par excellence. Nicola Gould visits London’s newest market which is already exceeding all expectations
    KERB, the organisation that has played a pivotal role in the evolution of street food in London, has opened its latest venture, Seven Dials Market, in the historic area linking Covent Garden to Soho.
The new market is already a phenomenal success, with 15 of London’s top street food-style businesses in situ in the basement and ground floor of Banana Warehouse and an additional 12 traders in Cucumber Alley selling everything from fine food and spirits to flowers.
Crowds throng the building from 11 in the morning to 11 at night six days a week, and from noon to 10.30 at night on Sundays, and the space rocks to the beat of reggae and hip-hop music.
The large communal tables that cover the centre of the basement quickly fill as people drop in to meet friends, enjoy a drink from the bar or savour some of the finest street food available anywhere in London.
The offer includes what is thought to be a world first — a cheese bar with a
conveyor belt of cheese plates. As in a sushi bar, people can sit and select their choice of a British cheese paired with a perfect accompaniment, for example, Driftwood goats cheese with rosemary shortbread.
And there is also a book shop in the basement for those wanting to feed their brains as well as their bellies.
General manager Nicol Dwyer says the success of the venture, which opened its doors to the public last summer, has exceeded all expectations.
But Seven Dials is more than just a one- off success —it is part of the KERB street food phenomenon.
It all began back in 2007 when Petra Barran co-founded KERB. A passionate foodie, she had travelled the country with her mobile catering business specialising in all things chocolate as the street food movement was taking off.
Nicol said that when Petra returned to London she began to take note of the power of the street food community and launched Eat Street to tap into that.
      Times February 2020
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Jacky Frost who has sold ladies fashion on Brentwood market for six years stepped up to the plate when the market was threatened with closure
Epsom Market is an odds-on favourite thanks to a £2.5 million investment programme
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   Epsom — p4
Seven Dials — p16
   A buoyant market at the heart of
the Fens
 Located in the heart of the fertile Fens in eastern England, Boston has thrived over the years as a centre for food production and distribution, with its own port, and a traditional market where there are still five fruit and veg traders selling the finest local produce. But the winds of change have sent a chill through this sometimes overlooked town, and it is now as well known as the Brexit capital of the UK than for its vibrant market and landmark attractions including The Stump, the town’s iconic parish church.
But the market, which dates back to a charter granted by Henry VIII in 1545, remains a force for social cohesion, where Bostonians who have lived in the town their whole lives, and Eastern Europeans who have made their homes here, do their weekly shop and enjoy the friendly banter. Things changed for Boston back in 2004 when eight former communist countries joined the EU and workers from Poland and the Baltic states in particular were drawn to the UK’s food producing heartland where jobs were plentiful.
As the influx increased, the financial
crisis of 2008 hit, which meant cash was short for the infrastructure needed to match the increase in population.
When the EU referendum took place in 2016, more than 75 per cent of people in Boston voted to leave, and there is a groundswell of anger at the delay.
But the good news is that the market is holding its own despite a couple of setbacks, the most recent being the closure of the town’s Marks & Spencer this spring which was a crowd puller in the Market Place. Chloe Rutt, events assistant for market operator Boston Borough Council, was
 The traditional market in Boston, Lincolnshire has long been a hub of activity every Wednesday and Saturday in its splendid location in the heart of town. These days it is also a force for unity in a town that has been dubbed the capital of Brexit. Nicola Gould reports
    Brentwood Market in Essex was on the verge of closure with no operator interested in taking it on when one of the traders stepped up to the plate. Since Jacky Frost took over its running the market has flourished. Nicola Gould meets an Essex girl who is transforming the fortunes of
a historic charter market
Never underestimate an Essex girl. Less than 18 months ago Brentwood Market was a hair’s breadth from closure. Essex Farmers Markets, the company that won the contract to revive and run an up-market general market on the High Street back in 2011, was no longer involved and Brentwood Borough Council could not see a way forward, with too few resources to run it themselves and no operator waiting in the wings.
Fortunately one of the traders, Jacky Frost, who had built up a flourishing ladies fashion
business on the market, refused to stand by and let the market disappear with the loss of market businesses and livelihoods — includ- ing her own.
So Jacky, a keen NMTF member, approached the council and offered to run it herself. It was a daunting prospect and a huge stretch for Jacky who has an unrivalled eye for fashion and plenty of charm and people skills, but no experience of running a market. As far as Jacky was concerned, it was Hobson’s choice, so in November 2018 she became the unpaid market manager. It has
been a steep learning curve, but Jacky has put her all into making a go of the market and it is thriving under her stewardship.
The success story began 10 years ago. Brentwood’s historic charter market was a far distant memory but when Essex Farmers Markets asked the council for permission to stage a Christmas market in 2010 and the germ of an idea was sown.
Caroline Harrison, the council’s licensing officer, said the council approved the application but the consensus was that they should go further. Reviving the town’s long-
      Brentwood — p24
Spitalfields — p36
Boston — p42
  Bradford’s Kirkgate Market to close
List your business on the NMTF’s website — FREE!
Accrington Market’s fightback begins with rent reduction
NMTF Conference — have you booked?
NEWS, REPORTS etc
11 Trader profile – Michael Pratt 28
Important relationship between
11 NABMA and NMTF 29
Cambridge cobbles saved
14 for posterity 30
20 How mobile caterers can avoid
a pain in the drain 31
Bulwell traders support Emily’s
Olympics bid 34
London’s oldest coffee stall calls it a day 40 APPMG says farewell to Ann and Jim 40
Good times still rolling for
toy seller Dennis Cook 41
Market Times quiz 47 Advertisers index 47
New era for London’s iconic Borough Market 22
Young Traders Market expands in 2020 32
Editor: Roy Holland 01226 352808 • Assistant Editor: Vanessa Higginbottom 01226 352812 • Editorial Assistant: Rebecca Johnson 01226 352806 Journalist: Nicola Gould • Email: publicity@nmtf.co.uk
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