Have we forgotten all about our original market traders?
With the focus being on other market issues have we forgotten to protect our market legends? It has been just over a year since I released my first blog Where are the young Market traders? and since then, not because of me blogging may I add, we have seen improvements in this sector in terms of doing things to influence the young, with great efforts from the NMTF and NABMA with their continuation of the National Youth Market, start-up schemes and the collaboration with the job centre plus and the NMTF to bring work experience and youth to our markets.
But it has now dawned on me: is it because there has been a focus on youth markets and other market issues that we have taken our eye off the ball when it comes to preserving what we have? As I have again been on my rounds of visiting markets lately for Where’s My Market?, I have been shocked with the amount of empty stalls and the amount of people that told me they are retiring from the markets as this is too expensive, with not enough customers, which in turn meant no more profit and eventually loss of money and time. I mean come on, how have we missed this and not managed to save our traders? More and more are closing down whilst we get the young to start up but answer me this;
How are the young meant to survive a start up, make profit, buy a house/ car or boat (which ever floats the readers fancy), when the legends that have been doing this for over 20/30 years can’t survive in today’s market environment?
Have we made a mistake and forgotten/discredited the markets living legends?
The legends are closing down and can’t survive in today’s market environment and after surviving for so long, this does not make sense, this cannot be right, and this does need to be actioned. Recent reports from M4 markets mentioned, as a whole, markets’ turnover is growing by something like 200 million a year, yet the traders are closing down, how is this? The traders certainly aren’t reaping those benefits – at least not all. My readers will know I think market rents are too high, but I know I am right because I actually hear this from more or less the majority of the traders I’ve spoken with. I say the majority of traders I’ve spoken to because a few indoor market stall holders were fine with/never mentioned their rent. However this was opposed by more of those traders with an outside stall, who felt they weren’t getting value for money but did not have much other options.
My personal opinion would be we have failed our markets’ living legends. I do feel that I and others could have spotted this sooner and highlighted it quicker because this has always been the case in terms of traders retiring due to rent issues. I feel there is no plan to keep these traders trading, or at least don’t know of a plan that I am aware of or I believe in. I believe more can be done and should be done, I believe if we can combat this now, along with the improvement of the youth’s market, the market can still have a future. I believe we need to keep the legends to teach the youth our market values and ethics, so that when the market does move forward it can still keep its quality and character even in a new age. This would also mean our great grand children won’t talk about them as something in the past, as a part of history but something they will be a part of, and help mould markets to stay relevant in the future.
It is now time to support the original traders, and help them avoid closing stalls. An action plan needs to be drawn up, traders need to be spoken to and most importantly, listened to. What the traders ask for needs to be granted because our markets are in safe hands with our traders as they are there nearly everyday, they know what their market needs, so let’s ask, listen, and then act.
Unless of course you want to look at it from a pessimistic perspective where you may feel that this is not the case because traders don’t say this at your market. If this is the case, you sir/madam are very lucky but just because it’s not happening to your market yet does not mean it is not a possibility, so all traders should get behind each other, and literally start saving markets. With all those great entrepreneur brains, let’s make markets great again as the youth market issue was identified and initiatives installed to encourage young people. So now lets give the market originals a little more attention and act on the fact that many market traders are closing down.
What can we do to combat this and avoid this? Who is looking out for the legends of our markets? I hope we haven’t taken our eye off the ball and neglected what we already had, because now more and more market traders are simply retiring, largely due to reasons such as rent being too high and a lack of trade.
The legends are still necessary and as important as ever. We still need the legends to teach the young, to uphold the market principals, because quite frankly, as the market evolves fewer people pass market stalls down nowadays and it is important that we ensure this knowledge is passed on.
Please note information was obtained from websites that will have been highlighted in this blog, and from personal knowledge and research, pictures were obtained from the following link leeandtami, venture break, bing