Page 6 - MarketTimesOctober2020
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  That number included Robert Leicester, a former winner of the NMTF’s Young Trader of the Year competition, who continued selling fruit and veg and introduced a click and collect service.
Warrington Council stepped up to the plate and sponsored a fruit and veg box service for vulnerable families which involved Robert making up veg boxes and Cheshire Fire Service delivering them to a community centre for collection.
“It was great to keep working during lockdown and feeling you were providing a good service for people, and we have picked up a lot of new customers,” Robert said.
And Gareth Jones’ deli, which continued to sell its fine food to an appreciative but reduced customer base, is now enjoying increased footfall and more customers.
“What’s striking is that we now have different customers — more families and younger people,” he said.
“Andy Ward was brilliant during lockdown,” Gareth added. “He just rolled up his sleeves and sorted everything he could to enable us to continue trading in the temporary market and for the move to the new market to go ahead.”
Andy and Gary said everyone worked together and that forged a bond which continues to this day.
“The non-essential traders shut up shop after Mother’s Day,” Gary said. “The traders who weren’t trading got together, all coordinated by the NMTF group. Andy couldn’t do everything so we all pulled together and took on tasks like packing up and palletising stock for each trader to move to the new market.”
The new market with 53 businesses in situ opened in July with little fanfare. The promotion budget for the opening was saved because of the need to cut down on numbers during the pandemic.
Even so word got around and the opening day was a big success — and so it has continued.
Andy said between 15,000 and 20,000 people were visiting the market a week and the food court had proved a dramatic success with queues forming during busy parts of the day.
Gareth Jones who runs Singletons deli in the new market said the new market was a perfect example of how to create a new market fit for the 21st century
Robert Leicester, a previous winner of the NMTF’s Young Trader of the Year competition, managed to continue his fruit and veg business during lockdown and has picked up new customers since the new market opened
 Initially, when we visited in late July, the food court was open from 11am to 7pm and the main market ran from 9am to 4pm.
But opening the food court until 10pm and having Sunday markets were in the pipeline.
In fact, the sky’s the limit, Gary and Andy say.
A hidden wall can be pulled across to separate the food court from the main market area. And plans for the future include themed events and markets both in the mezzanine area and on Time Square and Brigg Street at the back of the market.
“We know we are still in the honeymoon period,” said Gary. “But footfall has stayed strong and even during the pandemic people seem happier to shop in the market than other places because of the light, airy feel.”
He said he had read that footfall in Warrington was holding up better than many similar towns.
Andy Kinsella who runs The Café at the End of the Universe says his business is booming in the market’s food court

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