Page 41 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
P. 41

 The good times are still rolling for market toy seller Dennis Cook
 Crowds gather round Dennis’s trailer at a pre-Christmas Sunday Market at New Smithfield in Manchester. Toys were selling as fast as his son Wayne could pitch them. And Dennis was so busy behind the scenes Market Times couldn’t get a picture of him
 DON’T tell Dennis Cook that the markets industry is in terminal decline— he’ll laugh out loud.
From his perspective, business is booming and punters are literally throwing their cash at him and his son Wayne as they auction toys or garden pots from a massive trailer.
Dennis’s market success story began many moons ago when he worked as a coach driver for Midland Red.
“Back in 1976, I distinctly remember the day I walked into a market in Wychbold near Bromsgrove and spotted a market trader on a busy stall,” Dennis said.
He started buying goods from him including horse and cart ornaments and large barometers and selling them to fellow Midland Red staff in the run up to Christmas.
“Iwason£19aweekandIwas taking £500 a week,” Dennis said. One day the managing director
took him aside and said the side business had to stop.
Unperturbed, Dennis told him he could stick his job and informed him that from Monday he would be standing markets and, what’s more, he would be taking three other
drivers with him as employees. The business took off and Dennis was soon selling from artics at markets all over the country from Nine Elms in London to
Manchester, Liverpool and Wales. “We blew the game away,” Dennis said. “We had a warehouse in Worcester and at one stage we
had five artics working markets.” In the early days Dennis specialised in household goods and genuine swag, but then he tried selling a few toys and discovered an evergreen line that always pulls
in the punters.
“We got in touch with some big
importers and I became a connoisseur of toys,” Dennis said. He trained up his son, Wayne,
fromtheageof12andat40heis now a top market auctioneer carrying on the family business with his father helping out at the back of the artic.
But the good times are still rolling, according to Dennis.
“We now take a 40 foot trailer to Wellesbourne on a Saturday and do the same at Manchester’s Sunday market on the wholesale site at New Smithfield,” Dennis said.
He describes the crowds in the
Picture taken many years earlier — Dennis with one of his bargain barometers
run up to Christmas at both markets as “amazing”.
“There must have been a thousand traders on the last market at Wellesbourne and the crowds were huge. I can’t tell you how much money we made,” Dennis said.
They got hold of a lot of stock after a major toy retailer went into administration and he says the public can’t get enough of it.
“People were just buying as many as they could,” he said.
Father and son sell toys from October to Christmas, then switch to garden pots from January to October — big ones, small ones, coloured ones, plain ones — every kind of garden pot imaginable.
Dennis, who is 68, says it was definitely worth his while packing in his driving job.
And he believes there is still plenty of money to be made on markets if you are on the right market, with the right line and the right attitude.

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