A trader who had just days to save his stock following the shock closure of a Blackpool indoor market is back up and running in new premises.
Butcher Steve Cross risked losing all his meat unless he urgently found somewhere to keep it when New Market, in South Shore, shut after the company that owned it went bankrupt.
On January 10, In Shops Centre Ltd announced to stall holders that the market would be closing due to financial difficulties.
But Mr Cross has now secured a long-term lease on a store on Bond Street – much to the delight of his customers.
And he said there could be a silver lining to the New Market closure if other traders follow suit, providing the street with a welcome boost.
He also spoke of his surprise at the “groundswell of support” from the public who urged him to continue his business.
Mr Cross said: “When the shock news was announced to market traders, tenants were given seven days to vacate.
“I was hit with a bombshell – I had to find a premises quick or get out on the street with thousands of pounds of stock and equipment.
“But once the public knew, there was a groundswell of support from hundreds of people saying ‘don’t go’ because there is no other independent butcher in South Shore.
“It was nothing short of a miracle and I managed to secure a lease in 24 hours.
“But this could be good for the area if we get a sudden influx of traders.”
Mr Cross, who supplies to caterers and hotels as well as his day to day customers, said he was disappointed to have been left in that situation.
He added: “You can’t let people down like that.
“The market where I have been now for 12 years has been like a family to me, with some very good people.
“But I am glad we have managed to save both stock and equipment.”
More than 20 traders with stalls at the market were faced with just a week to clear out following the surprise announcement.
Some of them had been at the market for decades and risked losing their livelihoods because of the decision.
In Shops, which operated 21 shopping centres around the country, has now called in the liquidators.
New Market, on Waterloo Road, was one of the 10 that faced immediate closure as a result of the Liverpool-based company’s financial problems.
The market had been open for 35 years but closed its doors on January 17.