Council leaders say the first week’s trading at the new Moor Market has been a ‘phenomenal success’ - but the £18 million building’s manager says the next task is to add more stalls to reach full capacity.
On the first day alone, 25,000 people passed through the doors, 5,000 more than the busiest Saturday at the old Castle Market.
“I’ve had a couple of traders saying that if it keeps up like this, it’ll be the best Christmas they’ve ever had,” said Andy Ward, markets manager.
“I’ve not heard one person say anything derogatory about it, there are a few teething problems with electrics, but it’s a new building - that was always going to happen.”
He continued: “Our target now is trying to fill the market to 100 per cent. I had 20 proper enquiries on the first day for stall space. We want interesting things though, we don’t want to fill the market with what we’ve already got.
“We still need a deli, and we could still do with someone selling speciality cheeses. We need a dairy stall and we need a Halal butcher.”
Mr Ward said opening hours are another area that will be looked at in the months to come. Currently the market is open 8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday.
“It’s something we need to consider, but we’re not going to start forcing new hours on them if they don’t want to do it. I’m going to keep testing the water, but if you’re a sole business owner you’ll already be working a 54-hour week.
“If you start working late nights and Sundays the work-life balance goes.” As the opening ceremony took place on Monday, so many people gathered outside the main entrance that they had to be granted admission in waves by security staff.
Stalls also reported large sales increases, with some traders taking a normal week’s takings in a single day. Council leader Julie Dore said: “The reaction from traders and shoppers alike has been phenomenal.”