Not All Doom and Gloom for Thriving Kingston Market

The recession continues to bite for the UK economy, but for Kingston market traders the only way is up.

The ancient market is bucking the economic trend: with some traders seeing soaring profits and even offers of TV stardom.

Pete Atkinson, founder of Tucker’s Exotic Meats, joined the market six months ago. He says: “This stall had been owned by 12 different companies before me and none of them had succeeded – it was called ‘the cursed stall’. I hope we’ve broken that curse.”

“In the past the normal stage that a business would fold at was six months, but we’ve been making good money…we’re doing really well.”

Mr Atkinson has so far turned down the chance of a pitch at the Olympics, due to flourishing business in the South West, and rejected a place on the BBC show Dragon’s Den. He has also been approached by the makers of The Apprentice and the stall could feature in the next series.

Mr. Atkinson puts some of the market’s success down to the loyal and affluent customer base who flock to the market every day. One such customer is James, a local worker so addicted to Tucker’s snacks he has returned for lunch every day for two weeks.  “It’s a chance to try something new and they’re so friendly,” he says.

Jim Curran, of Jimmy’s Meats, believes that it is this community atmosphere which is the key to the market’s success. “It’s a bit of a brotherhood round here, we all get on with each other, we always look after each other… you don’t normally get that nowadays,” he says.

But Mr Curran is uneasy about the upcoming market regeneration plans.

“I’ve been here ten years and given the chance I’ll be here till the day I die. But I can’t see the market being here all that time. Even though it’s a chartered market, I just can’t see it.”

“The way they’re talking about changing the market is not in our favour,” he adds.

Shanta Bhagwandin from Kingston First, the organisation in charge of the market, says that these fears are unfounded: “We want to improve the market. It’s not going anywhere, it’s been there for hundreds of years. We’re not going to get rid of it.”

“If we don’t move with the times we’ll be left behind, so we have to redevelop.”

Ms Bhagwandin says the regeneration will enable more shoppers to enjoy the success of Kingston market, helping to increase the already thriving trade.

Kingston Council launched the tender for the planning and design of the new market last week. The first phase of works is due to begin in 2013.

+ posts

Leave a Reply

Verified by ExactMetrics