Page 38 - MarketTimesJune2014
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have knocked the market, including older traders calling it a day, and a lack of new blood.
As the number of stalls dwindled, Wayne changed the layout from a quadrant to a ring market, which helped to keep a critical mass.
Then four years ago the council identified a central development area in Herne Bay and decided the market should be a part of a rejuvenated town centre.
Chris West said: “The council had decided to allow an Aldi to be built on the car park.” But he said that by then the penny had already dropped that the town centre needed its market, and vice versa.
“We conducted a survey which showed that 83 per cent of shops wanted the market to move to the centre of town,” he said.
Not every trader was convinced, but the majority view prevailed. The council has invested in bright new green and white striped gazebos, and the market now takes pride of place in Mortimer Street and William Street every Saturday.
Within hours of setting up stall on the launch day, all the doubts and fears were allayed.
The market looked vibrant and attractive, in marked contrast to its ramshackle appearance of its days on the car park.
There was plenty of footfall, and people were chatting about how good the market looked, and how it brightened up the town centre.
Regular market shoppers said how much bigger it seemed, although it is actually the same size. And, most importantly, new shoppers were discovering the pleasure of buying from a market.
For the traders, it was the best possible start. Roy Eldrick, who has been selling plants and flowers on Herne Bay market for the past 20 years, said: “I used to have five girls working on my stalls in the good times, but I ended up serving on my own.”
He said the move had made a big difference to his business and he was now very positive about the future.
John Beaney, who has been selling fruit and veg at Herne Bay for four years, said: “I did well on the car park site, but a lot of the other traders were struggling.”
He said the town centre location was even better for him because of the increased footfall and the longer market day it allowed.
Bhardar Singh, who has sold menswear on the market for 29 years, was thrilled with the new location. “It’s brilliant — fantastic,” he said. “The atmosphere is so warm and
friendly. There is a real buzz about the market now.”
And Roy Yard, who sells general goods, said: “My family have been traders for more than 45 years. I used to help my dad on his stall when I was a boy. Trade was so good,
I was the richest boy on our street, with the money he paid me.”
Roy thinks the new location is a win/win situation for everyone, including the shopkeepers, and is looking forward
to a return to the good old days of market trading.
Steve Bamber, who is chairman of the Canterbury and district branch of the National Market Traders Federation and stands Herne Bay as well as Canterbury market, said the early signs were good.
“But it is up to the traders to take the opportunity and work together to make this work for us all,” he said.
And there is all to play for. Chris West said that the town had occasional continental markets and other attractions along the seafront.
If all went well, it could be possible to extend the market down William Street to link up with the seafront and attract more people around the market.
  Roy Eldrick has been selling plants and flowers on Herne Bay market for the past 20 years. He is pictured with his daughter, Donna Roberts
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John Beaney, who sells fruit and veg, welcomed the move as it brings more footfall and a longer market day
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