Sheffield Council has hailed the new Moor Market ‘a success story’ despite some traders saying they face a fight for survival.
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, said: “We are doing everything we can to help traders to succeed and it is clear that the new market is bringing customers in, giving traders the opportunity to sell their goods.
“We can’t guarantee that every single business will be successful but we are creating the conditions for a thriving first class market in the city and believe that overall this has been a success story in the first few months and we will do everything we can to help it to continue.
“We have some great success stories already and have also seen some stall holders taking on new staff or apprentices and others moving to bigger stalls.
“Most businesses are doing well and we will do all we can to help that continue and for the venue to thrive long term.”
But Nick Tissing, owner of News@The Moor and neighbouring Coffee@TheMoor, said he was worried how he could cope when they have to pay full rent.
He said: “At the moment we’re OK because we’re only paying a service charge, but after that we’re going to struggle. And I know we’re not the only ones. It’s going to be difficult for everyone to survive.”
Geoff Fern, who moved his firm JB Tools to the new building after 25 years at Castle Market, said: “We’re seeing nearly half the number of people we were promised, and a lot are just coming for a look around.
“Three elderly customers have told me they’re not coming back once the FreeBee bus goes. The council should have offered traders like TJ Hughes and Sainsbury’s the chance to contribute towards it.
“I know it is going to take time to get established but I think they need to extend free rent to a year.”
Anton Smith, who runs Juicy Patties but has handed in his notice to the council, said: “I came because the market bosses said they wanted to attract new customers with specialist food.
“I am selling, that’s not the problem. I am paying £26,000 a year for a box. I’d rather pack up than be in debt to the council. They’re not interested in helping you.
“It’s busy in the morning but by the afternoon it’s empty.”
But butchers Crawshaws said its business is booming – and it has opened a second store out on Th e Moor to meet demand.
Managing director Kevin Boyd said: ”We are extremely pleased with our decision to open a stall in The Moor market and have so far had positive results.
“People want to buy their fresh food in the city centre and the market means customers can get everything they need in one place.”
Other businesses such as Craft Evolution are also preparing to take up residence.
There are currently 93 traders in the market with 95 per cent of stalls let.
Bosses say there are 16 stalls in the market which are currently vacant, but work is being carried out to fill these spaces.