For me street markets are the biggest struggling markets of them all and locally I feel they are close to extinction. I 100% feel street markets need entertainment, some music even. The more street markets I see the less variety there is in this market. We have the fruit and veg man, the key cutter man, the occasional fish man show up one day of the week, the man selling socks and the woman selling clothes but there are hardly any clothes on the stall! Street markets are very confusing because you can be at one end and there 3 or 4 market traders set up and trading then you walk up a little more, and there is nobody there, so you feel this is all the market has but then you carry on a little further and low and behold there are some stalls again. Now I’m not being rude but for my sanity in this situation can we just put them all together next to each other and have some sort of organisation and unity?
Street markets are a dying breed, and this is not just the street markets fault. It has been hindered by the lack of people in indoor and outdoor regular markets. A lot of street market traders will come from these kind of market stalls when their usual market is not open on that specific day, but due to rent rises, lack in foot fall, many traders have retired, or pursued other avenues like opening their own shop as somehow it was cheaper than running a market stall. The market world is crazy right now, and a lot of creases need to be ironed out.
I feel for the street markets – how do street market traders make money? They have so many factors they must face which I have mentioned in another blog yet to be released, such as bus routes, road works, other businesses drawing the customers from you, lack of toilets, lack of car parking spaces, lack of security, and on top of this, these traders are expected to survive through these problems which they have not created and still feed their family. I work near my local street market in Wednesfield, and the factors I see these traders face every day is truly heroic. I see them in snow, rainy conditions, creating their own covers and shelters to protect their stock. They rely on buses a lot as buses come right along the street market, and bring in a lot of their customers. However, when the buses have a strike, it affects these traders massively. Currently, Wednesfield have had a main road cut off which leads to the town where the street market is, so all traffic has now been diverted. I work on the high street and this has affected the shop I work in dramatically, so I can only feel sorry for the traders and their families.
This being said, maybe making street markets more sustainable should be explored, this would be beneficial to the traders. Let’s partner them up with local studios and getting different performers (home grown) performing at the markets is a win-win. It gives the street market some added extras, some performers bring fans, and for the performers markets bring them an audience and potential fans. Some things in life seem like they would never coincide, but then some of the better things in life come from two things, like this, you never thought would work together.
If you are reading this and are in a position of authority please look at your local street markets and see if they need help, talk to the traders and ask them. If we truly want to #DefytheDecline in markets we have to look out for the smaller markets too.