March 12 2014 Latest news:
Monday, February 17, 2014
Market traders in west Suffolk have thanked loyal customers for supporting them during the bad weather - but warned the heavy rain and wind is taking its toll.
On Saturday, Sudbury’s normally vibrant market of 30 stalls was reduced to six vans as traders with canopies decided it was too windy to set up. Over in Bury a reduced market went ahead minus the gazebos after a safety meeting between market officers and traders was held the night before.
The high winds of Saturday follow on from flooding the weekend before and torrential rain over the past weeks that has reduced custom.
Dan Ashdon, who runs Water’s Edge Provisions on Sudbury market selling eggs, spices and dry goods, said he was a “few hundred pounds down” on what he normally takes at this time of year.
“Today it has been too dangerous for the stall-holders to set up and last week people were preoccupied with the floods but we have very loyal customers who support the market whatever the weather - it’s the passing trade we‘ve missed out on.”
Fishmonger Dave Monro said he had his regulars - some he has been serving for 20 years - to thank for keeping him ticking over. “It’s been the second year that February has been bad - last year it was really cold and we had snow but we want to thank those customers who keep coming rain or shine,” he said.
In Bury, fruit and veg trader, Martin Hart, said he was hopeful trade would pick up when the weather improves.
He said: “It’s been a tough month. When people see rain and wind battering against their window that’s no incentive to go out and walk round the market, is it?”
St Edmundsbury Borough councillor, Robert Everitt, who holds the portfolio for markets, said that seasonal changes were all part of the a market trader’s lot.
“February can be when the rough weather happens and quite often stall-holders choose this time of year to take their holiday,” he said.
“We had a meeting on Friday night and our priority was to ensure it would be safe to go-ahead with the market. We spoke to some of the fruit veg guys who have to go and collect their produce the night before, so it is fresh. They were happy to go ahead, so we made the decision.
“I would commend people to come down and support our markets in west Suffolk - it’s excellent value for money and a vibrant atmosphere.”
He added: “At its peak we have 75 stall holders in Bury – its one of the biggest markets in the country. Haverhill is much smaller but a vibrant place to shop for provisions.
“With 75 stallholders - I thinks that is testament that the good months outweigh the bad.”