Delight as Abingdon Street Market finally reopens in Blackpool at its new town centre location
We’re back! That’s the message from Blackpool’s market traders who are up and running again after being dislodged from Abingdon Street Market.
Stallholders whose goods range from hosiery to handbags, clothes to cosmetics have been found a temporary new home by the council in the former Top Shop unit on Victoria Street.
They expect to be there until at least next spring while a £3.6m renovation of the market building is carried out.
While there is frustration the relocation was held up by more than three months due to delays caused by the negotiation of the lease, businesses are glad to be welcoming customers again.
Tony Townsend, of The Book Shack which has been in the market for 14 years, said: “We have missed our customers and a lot are saying they are pleased to see us back.
“We have already had a good response on our first morning, and it’s a great location.”
Most traders have got less space than before, with the Gill family, who sell clothes, shoes and bags, having to squeeze four stalls into one.
Adi Gill said: “It’s been a hard time because for my parents, whose stalls they are, as it is their livelihood.
“But we’re grateful for the help we have had, particularly from Andrew Ferguson and Debs Lancelott, and our customers have been very supportive.”
Bernard Power, of Mr Smart Menswear, has had to go down from 100ft of space to around 40ft, but said: “It’s good to be back and we’re still able to have plenty of stock on display.”
Stallholders have missed out on months of trade due to lockdown and then being unable to re-open when restrictions for shops ended on April 12, but they hope the new location will give them a boost.
David Greaves, of The Bag Store, said: “I think people who knew us in Abingdon Street Market will come back, and we’ll also get new customers from being in this location.”
But it’s not just their livelihoods, the traders have also missed working side by side and are pleased to be reunited – while some stalls are part of Blackpool’s heritage.
Cassie Scanlan, of Cassandra’s Hosiery, said: “This hosiery stall has been in Abingdon Street Market since just after the war so it’s part of the town’s history.
“It’s nice we are all together here as the market is like a little family.”
Pamela Hoyle and Val Cella are delighted to be back, working on stalls side by side selling cosmetics, perfumes and hair products and chatting with their customers.
Val said: “It’s been hard work getting everything ready, and we had to put our own shelves in to display everything, but it’s been worth it.”
Pamela added: “It’s brilliant – and I’m just glad to be out of the house and looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces.”
Customers like Angela Lawriw from St Annes have also missed the market.
She said: “The market is something different in the town centre, and you get really friendly service.
“I can also appreciate the hardship any business which has had to close has been through in this environment, so it’s great to see them back.”
The market will be open six days a week, and closed on Tuesdays.
Thirteen stalls have moved into the former Top Shop unit, while another five have been found alternative sites in council properties in the town centre and other traders have found new premises privately.
The council bought the market last year after receiving a £3.6m grant from the government’s Getting Building Fund.
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