Recently on the Markets still matter page on Facebook I had some interesting information from a lady named Jennifer who spoke about Willenhall market. Jennifer is an ex market trader, with relatives on Willenhall market who have had over 30 years market trader experience, and she spoke about why Willenhall market is not the market it used to be and I think she covered it perfectly. To elaborate, as stated in the where are the young market trader blog I mentioned that some Willenhall traders were blaming the council’s allocation of funding, but Jennifer quite rightly so has blamed the traders themselves and has some really valid points which I think will be of very important interest to anybody that is a stakeholder in Willenhall market such as the customers, residents, traders, council and business owners.
Jennifer shared an experience from a day out in Willenhall where she visited her favourite fish and chip shop, the market fish and chips, amongst a few other favourites such as the 99p shop and Lidl. She also expressed how she prefers Willenhall market above all, although she now lives in Wolverhampton, to do her shopping.
This is what Jennifer had to say about the market;
“..(The) market now thats another thing what the hell! 1.45pm and they were packing up. On a lovely day like this (blue sky’s, sun blazing), now I have been a market trader for some years but now retired, and my brother in law worked on Willenhall market for over 30 years – what the hell are they playing at, don’t they know you pay your rent for a day, not half a day, I can understand if it’s snowing, but on a day like this, have they lost their marbles, people were milling around.”
She also went on to say:
“I admit there could have been more, and they were packing up! Now I know Willenhall is struggling but this is ridiculous the market traders are killing the market. I remember as a child (now we are talking a good many years back i hate to say), it was so busy you couldn’t walk up the market you did the market shuffle, I know it’s not like that nowadays, what with morrisons taking over the town, but for god sake the market is going to kill the town, playing silly bugers like they are. Does anyone know if there are rules for the market, normally market trade time is 9 till 5, sometimes 4, but not 2 o’clock . When I worked on Bloxwich you couldn’t under law of death and losing your pitch go before 5.”
Jennifer went on to ask if anybody is walking around the Willenhall market on market day could you keep your eyes open for ‘the toby’ – he’s the guy who runs the market and collects the rent , He roughly comes around about 10 or 11 because he does Bloxwich first said Jennifer, “ask him does he know that they pack up at 2 and this is what is killing the market, people are coming to buy and the market is packing up?”
Jennifer has a huge point – how can Willenhall market traders expect to do well when they are closing so early. If you are paying for a full day surely logically it makes sense to stay the whole day, and to think when I was around willenhall market doing research the majority of the traders mentioned Walsall get all the funding that is why they are not doing so well, but no disprespect to Willenhall traders as some really do graft hard, but what can or do you expect to happen if you are not getting your money’s worth from the day, you have to cater for all kinds of customers and remember some customers are lazy and don’t like to leave their bed at that time. So, because of factors like this, these customers are going to Bilston. it is fair to say when you look at it like this no wonder Bilston is a successful and thriving market, when you have Willenhall its closest competition closing why would people want to open a pitch in Willenhall, when it is mostly deserted, closes early, and the attitude of some of the traders is poor. Willenhall need a revamp in terms of new market stall operators and there should be a rule induced between traders that they atleast stay open until 3pm and perhaps give people such as moms on a school run a chance to purchase their products in their short 2 hour gap of freedom they may have on a school day.
Credit to Jennifer Faulkner, for letting us have access and sharing these views with us.