Page 25 - MarketTimesOctober2013
P. 25

                                                               Once a thriving market in Anglesey’s county town, Llangefni market had fallen on such hard times, its survival was touch and go. A new operator and a man with market trading running through his veins stepped up to the plate in the nick of time. NICOLA GOULD tells a remarkable market story
How do you turn round the fortunes of a market that’s dying on its feet? Anyone who knows anything about markets will tell you there is no magic wand.
But the transformation of Llangefni Market on the Isle of Anglesey from two or three stalls toafullmarketof36inadozenorsoweeksis pretty spectacular.
No one is saying it’s fixed and the job is done. The market will have to get through the winter and it will be a couple of years before it is firmly re-established, according to Emyr Owen, a larger-than-life character and a major force behind the market’s resurgence.
But its vital signs are good and locals who used to ask ‘What’s happened to the market?’ in despairing tones, now ask the same question
— but with relish.
The market, which takes place on Thursdays
and Saturdays, has a long history going back to the times when farmers on one side of the river Cefni took their produce and animals to Caernarfon market, and those on the other traded at Llangefni.
It has traded on a couple of different sites, most recently on the central car park next to the town hall where it had dwindled to two or three stalls — a sad and forlorn sight, particularly in winter.
Llangefni town clerk Arnold Milburn and Ian Ault, a former regional bank manager who now runs a café opposite the market, take up the story.
“The market was run by Anglesey County Council and we were in negotiations for two-and-
a-half years, initially to run it in partnership,” Arnold said.
A Llangefni market steering group was formed with Ian as its chairman. Finally the breakthrough came and the county council agreed to let locals operate the market.
The Llangefni Social Enterprise Company Ltd was formed and took over the running of the market in the second week of April.
There was no overnight transformation, but as soon as the company asked Emyr Owen to get things moving, the dye was set.
Emyr has market trading running through his blood back to the 18th century. He has run markets, started markets, traded on markets — and what he doesn’t know about markets, isn’t worth knowing.
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