24 Aug Card stall man angry over rival
The owners of a family-run stall which has operated in the Market Place for nearly 30 years fears it may have to close now a new trader, selling the same goods, has been given the go ahead to move in.
Melanie and Paul Wright took over Market Cards, which stands in the centre of Great Yarmouth’s permanent market, in 2011. The business was previously owned for 25 years by Melanie’s parents, Katrina and Colin Cooper, who also run Celebration Station in Gorleston High Street.
Now, Paul is worried his trade will be affected by the rival card stall opening in the unit opposite Bonmarché.
The unit has been empty for over two and a half years.
“It’s really tough on the market, everyone is struggling,” said Paul, 53. “We get along and I’ve got my loyal customers, but business isn’t booming. Despite this, the council has told me the Market Place warrants another card shop. I’m not happy about it.”
Former HGV Paul, needed to slow down following a heart attack in 2010, so when the opportunity came to work on the stall he was happy to help out.
“It just seems to me as if the council don’t care about market traders, they don’t want to help. The new stall will be so close it’s in my eye line, and you don’t need two card stalls on the market.”
Although there is a balance of trades policy, which aims to create a lively and vibrant environment for shoppers with a wide mix of goods, on the town’s two-day market, on Wednesday and Saturday, the permanent six-day market has no restriction.
However, the policy does not stop two traders selling the same type of products and thus competing against each other on the two-day market.
Cllr Barry Coleman, whose portfolio includes markets, said: “The borough council went through a fair and transparent process to find a trader to buy and take the licence for the empty dry goods stall at the Market Place.
“This included advertising the opportunity on the market stall itself.
“A businessman who proposes to sell cards, wrapping paper and helium balloons, has been chosen, subject to satisfactory references. Ensuring the market is fully occupied is important to ensure the ongoing vitality of the Market Place and to bring in income to support public services.
“There is no policy around duplication of types of goods on the market – indeed there are eight chip stalls competing for customers.
“Due to the commercial nature of the Market Place and the wider town centre, the borough council cannot and does not guarantee that any trader on the market will operate in a competition-free environment or will have a monopoly in any particular area. It remains the responsibility of individual businesses to ensure their business model and practices are sound and they remain competitive and attractive to customers.”
However, Paul and Melanie are convinced that this isn’t in the Market Place’s best interests and are seeking advice from the National Market Traders Federation.
Paul said: “An independent person like myself, it might get to the stage where I have to give my 28 days notice, but the council told me that if that happens, it happens,.
“I think all they care about is the money.”
this news story was provided by great yarmouth mercury