Page 10 - MarketTimesOctober2013
P. 10

Market Times • October 2013
  The bright new kid on the Brixton market block
 A NEW community market is bringing even more choice to Brixton’s buzzing market scene. To be fair, Brixton Station Road Market isn’t entirely new. Station Road has long been part of Brixton’s world famous, iconic market offering, which brands itself “the larder of Lambeth”
because of its amazing food offering.
The emergence of the covered Brixton Village Market and Market Row as London’s trendiest new hot spot for foodies and fashionistas has
added to the buzz around Brixton.
But whilst outdoors stalls on Electric Avenue
and Popes Road thrived, those on Station Road dwindled.
Stuart Horwood, the watch man trading on Popes Road, and his fellow trader John Gordon, both stalwarts of Brixton Market Traders Federation, looked out on a sadly depleted market as they sat in their favourite café in Station Road for their daily cuppa.
Stuart said: “We both started as market traders on Station Road and we wondered what on earth we could do to halt the decline.”
Finally they approached Lambeth Council with a plan to rejuvenate Station Road. And such is the trust between the council markets team and the traders that a format was agreed for the traders federation to run a rejuvenated Station
Road market, which has become known as the community market.
Taking up the story, Stuart said: “Occupancy on Station Road was down to 15 per cent when we came up with the plan to revive the market.”
They formed Brixton Market Traders Federation Community Interest Company (CIC) and joined forces with local groups including Brixton Pound, Local Brixton Society and Makerhood, a local online market, to launch a ‘Make It, Grow It, Sell It’ market in Station Road.
The first one in September 2011 was a great success and gradually London’s first trader operated street market began to make its mark.
Stuart said: “Lambeth Council gave us six months to prove ourselves. We invested around £5,000 in stalls, boards and sheets.
“After six months we were doing reasonably well on Fridays and Saturdays, but we needed to improve the market on the other weekdays.”
The solution was a food corner comprising hot food stalls, with the aim of competing for local workers who nipped out and spent a fiver or more on a sandwich and a snack.
“We have set up a seating area for the food corner which runs from Wednesdays to Fridays, and that is going quite well,” Stuart said.
the traders have
differentiated the community
market by creating different themes for each Saturday in the month.
The first Saturday is a bakers and flea market. The second is a makers market. The third is retro and vintage. The fourth is Brix mix, which is a bit of everything.
Saturdays are now 90 to 100 per cent full, with 33 traders on busy weekends. Occupancy is at 50 per cent on Fridays and weekdays are still a work in progress.
But one-off events such as the Great Brixton Bake-Off, which kicks off the market traders’ year in March, prove the huge potential.
“I have never seen so many people on the market as we had for the bake off,” Stuart said.

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