Shoppers fall in love with market day as campaign starts brightly

Market officer Mike Knight promotes Love Your Local Market in Spalding.
Market officer Mike Knight promotes Love Your Local Market in Spalding.
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Organisers behind Love Your Local Market in Spalding are positive after an encouraging response from shoppers to their campaign to boost the profile of street traders.

A charity auction, live music from the Marching Ambassadors and a walkabout by the cast of Spalding Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society’s (SADOS) latest production, Acorn Antiques, all added to the atmosphere on Saturday as extra shoppers were drawn to the town centre.

Market officer Mike Knight said: “Saturday was great because we had at least a dozen people who said they were interested in renting a market stall.

“I stood on an information stand all day and for me, there seemed to a be a few extra people walking around the market.

“The number of shoppers was more than we anticipated and it was an encouragement for us.

“There was a different atmosphere because of the auction and music, we had some good comments from the public and in my view, the day went better than I expected.”

The campaign continues this Saturday with another auction for Spalding Rotary Club’s Two Lips appeal, a street performance by SADOS and a walkabout by Rhubarb Theatre to promote their Paper Wings show at Surfleet Village Hall on Monday.

Market managers for South Holland District Council are hoping to recruit new traders for the Saturday market through the campaign with the offer of free stalls for a month.

Mr Knight said: “This is the first time we’ve been part of Love Your Local Market and it does brighten the market up.

“Some of the traders put bunting and balloons up on their stalls and the auction brought a few more people into the town because they like auctions.

“We’re looking to hold an auction now once or twice a month because we have the area for it and bring in a bit of entertainment as well.

“There might be an information stall put up every so often and each year, the campaign is going to get bigger.”

Love Your Local Market was launched last year in response to a report on failing high street stores by retailer Mary Portas.

Nationally, more than 500 markets are taking part in the campaign which aims to find at least 3,000 new market traders across the country.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, South Holland District Council cabinet member for operational planning, said: “I was very pleased with how the campaign went on Saturday and it was quite a positive day.

“A lot of the traders said they were quite happy with their takings and they thought the amount of people in the town was quite good.

“Some traders made an effort to decorate their stalls and we’ll be awarding a prize for the best turned out stall this Saturday.

“The auction helped in getting a lot of people out and hopefully, the Love Your Local Market campaign will be even better on Saturday.”