There’s a definite buzz about The Moor this week… to say nothing of the unaccustomed bustle of enthusiastic shoppers. In fact the street is busier than I’ve seen it in years.
The reason for all this activity is the new Moor Market: a bold new addition to the once-vibrant shopping hub.
And early indications suggest the newcomer will give a much-needed shot in the arm, not just to Sheffield’s market traders but to the entire city-centre.
The long-awaited market finally opened its doors on Monday. From the outside, the building looks like an off-cut from the Winter Garden, with its striking faceted-glass wing, curving up into the sky.
Inside, it’s a curious mix of old and new. Many of the names are the same, but the soaring glass roof, with its network of beams and struts, gives the place a lightness, an airiness, that was never found in the old Castle Market.
And the one thing that everone comments on is the cleanliness.
“It’s fantastic!” says butcher Mick Birks of Mick’s Grade A Meats. “It’s like the market used to be 30 years ago, but a lot cleaner and tidier.”
Step inside and the first thing you notice is the sensory overload.
The bright whirl of clothing, food and shoppers is enhanced by a background buzz and the cheery call of stallholders; the smell of fresh fish and fried burgers; the jostling of curious passers-by and die-hard bargain hunters on the scent of a kill. On the lead-up to the main arena, Coffee @ Moor Market is handing out cups of locally roasted fresh coffee; next door, Beer Central offers a range of craft ales and ciders.
Further on is a smart-looking hair stylist and a grid of stalls selling everything from rugs and jewellery to curtains and computer games.
Beyond that, shoppers rest their weary legs in an open-plan café and enjoy a welcome cuppa, a snack or a full-blown lunch from more than a dozen food outlets that line the walls.
Newcomer Steve Jones, of Cossack Cuisine, is impressed: “It’s been much better than we expected – and I think it will build up and get better,” he says. “I’ve been talking to people who had given up using the old market, but they love this new one.”
Food shoppers are in for a treat, with around a dozen butchers to choose from, as well as fishmongers, greengrocers, health foods and bakers.