Market traders are urging shoppers to be ‘loyal to local’ during the country’s second lockdown and take advantage of the fresh, quality produce on their stalls.
Grimsby’s Top Town Market is open for an extra trading on Wednesday, from 8.30am to 4pm before the non-essential stalls closed to comply with the month-long lockdown.
Traders selling essential produce, including vegetables, fruit, meat and fish will still be able to trade as normal on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8.30am to 2pm.
With many offering additional delivery and ‘drive-by’ pick-up services, they are confident they can keep the market busy until it’s back in full business in the run-up to Christmas.
COVID-safe measures are present in the market at all times, including compulsory mask-wearing, regular hand sanitiser stations and arrows guiding people around a socially distanced one-way system.
For Jo Bampton and Sarah Kershaw this is the first lockdown for them both as joint owners of The Veg Stall. They took over in June when restrictions eased, and their boss had decided to retire.
“We are definitely staying open. Our customers like the fact they can get their fresh produce here in paper, not plastic, bags,” said Jo and Sarah, who are asking people to contact them via their Facebook page, ‘The veg stall-bishells’ if they want to arrange collection.
Fred’s Fisheries is also pledging to serve its customers during lockdown, with stocks expected to be supplied as normal. Kim Parkinson works for owners Adam and his dad Dave Gladding and is an experienced hand, having previously helped to run her husband’s fish stall.
Market trading is in Kim’s blood – she grew up on her grandparents veg stall at Freeman Street and has been associated, on and off, with the trade in Grimsby for 50 years.
“There is no doubt that we will be staying open. People love our fish, with haddock always a best seller, people in Grimsby love their haddock,” said Kim.
Scott Currie at the nearby The Meat Master, part of the David Jenkins business, was busy on his stall in the run-up to lockdown and is gearing up to offer customers a delivery service, with those interested asked to phone him on 07585 951889 or go onto his Facebook page – The Meat Master.
“Local businesses like ours and others on the market provide quality produce, and that is what our customers want and rely on us for,” said Scott.
Boxed deliveries are also being offered by the family fruit and veg business, Hutson Bros. Rose Hutson manages the regular Top Town unit and again asked people to contact her though their Facebook page – Hutson Bros.
Carl’s Meats offered a pick-up service from the back of the market for its customers through the last lockdown and is planning the same again as he trades throughout.
The nearby stall of Birketts Butchers is staying open, as is Turners Brothers – the latter is offering a delivery and order and collect service of all its fruit and veg. Customers can order again via their Facebook page or phone 07712 322637.
Meanwhile some of the non-essential stall holders are finding inventive ways of keeping their customers happy. Self-confessed bookworm Diane Nixon-Betts has run The Black Cat Book Shop since being gifted the stall by her old boss. Packed with second-hand and new titles, Diane wants to ensure books are delivered if people want them.
“I am not allowed to open, but I can deliver locally or post books to people safely and that’s what I want to do, they can just call me on 07854 055217,” said Diane.
Top Town Market is a member of the Loyal to Local Scheme – a joint North East Lincolnshire Council and E-Factor campaign to promote and support local businesses.
Cllr John Fenty, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration and skills said:
“There has never been a better time to show our support for all things local. Coming together as a community to support each other will shine a spotlight upon the positives that we can take from such challenges times.”
The market is managed by North East Lincolnshire Council’s regeneration partner, ENGIE.
For more information, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/markets.
To keep up to date with the latest from the Market Hall, find them on Facebook at Grimsby Top Town Market.