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FEATURE • GLASGOW FORGE
   Hayley Bennett runs a babywear stall on the market and helps her daughter Tracy who recently took over the other baby clothes business in the market
  Ian Jobson has sold leather bags in Glasgow forge market since it opened
Market manager David Reekie (right) is pictured with his new assistant Stephen Gardiner
What seemed to many a risky experiment — creating a huge indoor market in a country where markets are few and far between — rapidly proved an inspired venture.
Glasgow Forge Market opened its doors to the public on September 9 1995, the brainchild of Paul Green, a retail and property magnate who started his working life sweeping the floor of a market in the East End of London.
It was purpose-built, with 85,000 sq ft of space, more than 130 traders and 180 stalls in aisles and cross aisles with names like Portobello Road, Petticoat Lane, Hookie Street and Trotters Way to help shoppers navigate and give a comic twist to the market shopping experience.
The location helps, adjacent to Forge Shopping Centre in the Parkhead area of Glasgow on a former industrial site where a large steelworks once produced steel for use all over the world.
With a busy bingo hall and a job centre nearby, local people with an eye for a bargain and plenty of free parking for those from further afield, the Forge was a big success from the start.
And for traders, many of whom had been trading on ailing markets through freezing winters, the new market was a godsend, as butcher Frank McDonald recalls.
“We had been working on outdoor markets when I was invited to trade here and it was good right from the start,” he said.
“It has got harder over the years, but we have lots of regular customers and they keep coming back.”
It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Scotland’s largest indoor market. Its future was in the balance some years ago when Paul Green’s company went into receivership.
He had overstretched the business by opening Silverburn, a £350 million new shopping centre in the south of Glasgow as a recession loomed.
Fortunately the UK’s largest private operator, Groupe Geraud, stepped up to the plate and the market continued to flourish.
David Reekie, who has a background in supermarket retailing, took over as the new manager last August and is spearheading changes with the support of two assistant managers, Alex Aagesen, who took over maintenance when the market opened, and new recruit Stephen Gardiner, who traded at the Forge a decade ago.
David said: “At this market we have the best of both worlds. Traders have the flexibility of market terms. There are such a wide range of lines and businesses that we get the good footfall. As well as good food businesses we
have a lot of services like key cutting and plenty of quirky, niche businesses including a fortune teller, Violet Lee.”
He said a number of traders also ran shops in the city but still chose to keep their market stalls. So shoppers get the choice and variety of a department store with the quirky atmosphere of
a market, with the opportunity to buy from traders who have a depth of knowledge and experience of the lines they sell.
The market also boasts a cash machine and a lottery stall, which pulls people in.
And one entrepreneur has made a big investment in a bright and modern café and restaurant which has made a big difference and created a new hot spot for footfall.
One of David’s early decisions was to organise a long lease for the “linch pin” catering business to give him security and ensure the market retained what has become a big asset.
“When I first looked round the market I felt there was perhaps an oversupply of DIY-type businesses,” David said.
He also has a list of lines he would like to attract to the market. It includes a fishmonger, a fruit and veg business, bedding plants, flowers, hardware and second hand vinyl records.
And he says a programme of investment is in








































































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