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Market traders say move outdoors has boosted business

Market day on The Square and (inset below) traders Irfan Babar and John Cleaver are among those reporting a boost in trade following the move out of the Market Hall

Market day on The Square and (inset below) traders Irfan Babar and John Cleaver are among those reporting a boost in trade following the move out of the Market Hall

Market traders say the switch to The Square has been good for business, with some joking they may not want to return indoors.

The market is being housed in the wooden chalets temporarily while Harborough District Council carries out a £480,000 revamp of the Market Hall in Northampton Road.

Last week saw several residents criticise the look of the chalets, with some comparing it to a shanty town.

Stallholders also fought hard last year to stop the council from moving the market outside on a permanent basis.

But most the Mail spoke to on Tuesday said they had done good business since trading began at their new home last Friday.

Irfan Babar, who runs a mobile phone accessories and repair stall, said: “It’s very busy here. I’ve had a lot more customers. In three months time we might regret having to go back to the hall.”

And Tom Squires of the Fgarty Bedding Company said: “I think this is how a market should be. I wish it could stay here. I used to trade in the Hall but as soon as I moved outside [the stall used to be outside Wilkinsons] I did three times the business. This is what market life should be.”

The market will continue to be held in The Square on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until April 5 while the Market Hall building is revamped.

The new-look Hall will feature a new layout, entrances, improved lighting and toilets as well as seven-day opening.

Traders were met with a torrential downpour as they set up on Tuesday morning but trader John Cleaver said stall holders would get used to coping with the elements.

He added: “We are seeing a lot of new customers here and hopefully we will take them back to the Hall with us.

“It’s early days but at the moment the thought is that we are going to do quite well out of it. The atmosphere is great and Harborough Council has done a great job setting this up.

“I think the only concern is the security of the units but there hasn’t been a problem so far.”

John Steward, who runs a men’s clothing stall, said: “We’ve got a lot of regulars but there are a lot of different people coming to The Square who maybe wouldn’t think to visit the Market Hall.”

Sue Birch, of Sue’s Cheese Stall, said: “We had a few problems when it rained this morning [Tuesday] but it’s okay. We’ve had a lot more folk coming by. I think once people get to know we’re here it will be good.”

Kris Moore, butcher at John Ross & Sons, said: “The first day has been good. We had people queuing up this morning. It’s not ideal but we’re making the best of it. The Market Hall will be nice when it’s done.”

And Andrew Mack, who wons The Emporium of Toys, added: “I’m hoping that when the kids come out of school they will come and browse the stall. I’m hoping the move will be good and increase trade.”

The antiques market will run on Sundays from 10am-4pm at the Assembly Rooms at Welland Park Academy.

 

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