Page 7 - MarketTimesJune2014
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“I have been coming to the stall since I was five or six,” she said. “Mum and dad both worked here on a Saturday so they brought us along and all the traders looked after us.”
It is still Tracy’s favourite market and as friendly as ever, she says.
Fruit and veg man Andy Palmer has no plans to retire although he has been trading on Ely market for 40-odd years.
“I just love the market life. It’s the variety and the people you meet,” he said.
And Roland Allen, Rol the Fish to his many friends, says he has another 25 years at least to look forward to.
“This is one of my best markets. The council
is very helpful and they look after us,” he said. Nick and Louisa Jeakings, who run Molly
May, selling upmarket ladies fashions, are positive about the future. “We have been trading here for eight years now,” said Nick. “You can’t compete with the likes of Primark, but we can compete with M&S and Fat Face. We sell the right quality for the customers here and we are seeing new customers visiting the market.”
Mike Newman, who has been on the market for more than three years, has recently expanded to offer key cutting alongside watch repairs and clearance lines.
Business is steady, he says.
And Nigel Graves, who took over a cafe, Tea for Two, just off Market Place last June, is still very much part of the market family. The new venture is going well but he is never too busy to visit his old friends or make them a hot drink.
Other market traders have moved on to bigger things. The late George Singh, who sold fashion on the market, moved on with two of his sons to create the Bon Marché chain.
But you can’t help wondering if they ever looked back nostalgically to their market trading days, and there is no market that has a more friendly, family feel than Ely.
  Geoff Hunt runs a wholesale tools business based in Norwich, but rarely misses a market day at Ely
  Nigel Graves decided to take over a small cafe called Tea for Two
just off the market recently after 25 years as a market trader. But he ‘is still very much part of the Ely market family
I just love the market life. It’s the variety and the people you meet
Mike Newman has a steady stream of customers wanting watches repaired and keys cut
 FACTS & FIGURES
 l Market Days: Thursday, Saturday, the last Sunday of the month from April to October, and bank holidays. A farmers’ market is held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month
l Market Rent: From £12 to £30 a day
l Ely’s Claim to Fame: Ely traces its roots back to the foundation of an abbey. It is
at the centre of a rich agricultural area and is said to take its name from the eels that were once plentiful there. It is one of England’s smallest cathedral cities and was home to Oliver Cromwell, who was the MP for the area.
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