The other day I found my self exploring Stafford’s indoor market on a Tuesday of all days, which granted was not the best day to visit for a blog in terms of the busier trading days, but it was still worth the visit. If anything, it benefited me more as I had time to speak to market traders, as well as amend some technical problems I occurred whilst visiting the market.
I was visiting Stafford market on behalf of Where’s My Market? but I had to make the most of my experience there and took in as much as I could for the Market Shoppers Blog. As the day was not the busiest I originally planned to write a blog out on my return visit to this market, but what I experienced and the potential I saw, was enough to write numerous blogs on Stafford’s indoor market.
So where do I start? First impressions in locating the market: coming all the way from Wolverhampton following google maps, was easy enough, the market was not hard to locate, it was not hidden in any secret back streets so this made it simple enough to locate. The Guildhall car park was fairly close and it was a 2 minute walk from the market itself, but the car park unfortunately did charge, and it was in the region of £2.00 for 2 hours, but I was there slightly longer and paid in the region of £4.50. Honestly, compared to a lot of places these charges aren’t actually that bad, but an alternative is the Broad Street car park which is also nearby.
When I first walked in the actual market from the entrance, my though process was wow, they have many stalls. These were not typical stalls, they were very professional looking, with great signage, great displays, good lighting, and of a good size, and all of the regular trader’s stalls were full with stock or ready to provide customers with the services required. These varied from dry cleaning, food and selling cakes and fruit and veg; this market looked diverse straight away.
It was clear from walking from the outside to the indoor market that this was a big market. Also with the fact that I had to locate the market manager for permission. One of the market traders next to Butter hill Bakery kindly got his attention for me at the back of the market, but on my journey walking around the market I noticed something that was both good and bad: it was empty market stalls. These were good sized empty market stalls at that with good facilities like plumbing, sinks, etc. All factors which could contribute to somebody starting something good. On the other hand, I had to remember it is Wednesday, these market stalls could be filled by the weekend. Nonetheless, filled or not the market stalls had great potential, and I assume have a lot of space for anybody wanting to enter the market trade.
The front of the market looks incredible, and they have many entrances, overall the market is a good market and they are doing their part for the community, with holding charity events inside, obtaining start up companies like Virgin Start Ups and BES to come and help traders and shoppers with business advice and loans which is fitting as Stafford market have recently taken on new traders, and I assume want a lot more. Although this market has various professional market stalls, they still have a little space which I am itching to see the transformation of. This market with the combination of their professional traders and the new blood entering the market, could be a contender for indoor market of the year once filled. It has all a market needs and once full, will be all the market shoppers need.
On the note of Stafford having new market traders I actually happened to speak to 2 of them.
The first market trader I spoke to was Butterhill Bakery, who was a very nice man. I think he had been at Stafford market a month or so, he fitted in quite well I’d say, as I had noticed he seemed to get on with his fellow market traders really well, as if he had been there years. I felt a sense of community from that end of the market. During my time talking to him I found out a lot of interesting information, like the fact he used to be a mechanic and swapped his trade to baking, which is a big move, but after trying his bread pudding I soon realised, it was not a big move – it was the only move. This man was meant to be a baker. I don’t particularly like or dislike bread pudding, but seeing all the customers demanding this product, it was only right that I tried this product too. My verdict? I think it is safe to say I have been converted; as a matter of a fact, I bought some bread pudding the other day from my area, but honestly it was not the same. I don’t know why but this man is magic with his baking skills. On top of this I saw him giving customers his business cards so they could phone him before they come in order to get their choice of product freshly baked, I mean this is customer service and then some.
I also spoke to Murphy African, English, Caribbean Fruit and veg, and I tell you what every market needs a market stall like this guy’s. It is different, it is cultural, and they have all the basic shoppers needs when it comes to fruit and veg stalls and more. Mr murphy and his wife are some great people and I can honestly tell you during my whole time speaking to these guys, I was smiling, when I left my cheeks had cramp from smiling so much. When you enter their market stall, they give you a good vibe, a positive feeling and are so welcoming, it is clear they are great people in the community. Murphy African Caribbean English are Stafford market’s newest stall holders as far as I know and they do travel some distance every market day just to bring Stafford market a taste of the Caribbean and Africa. I had asked Mr murphy are you a family run business? To which he replied well yes “I am Ras and she is my queen.” They are 100% in this together and it is nice to see, they are a really nice couple with an amazing stall.
These 2 new market traders are a sign of the way Stafford market is going, they are bringing in things that are different, they are becoming more diverse. Best of all, they are actually attracting new market traders, growing and adding more quality to their existing one.
Check out Stafford market when you can; I tip this market as one for the successive future.