Swindon farmers' market cancelled for January over poor support

This Is Wiltshire: The farmer’s market is opened last October by  manager Kardien Gerbrands, left, Coun Emma Faramarzi, Duncan Paget, of DS Paget and Co, InSwindon Bid manager Rebecca Rowland InSwindon chairman Paul Booth The farmer’s market is opened last October by manager Kardien Gerbrands, left, Coun Emma Faramarzi, Duncan Paget, of DS Paget and Co, InSwindon Bid manager Rebecca Rowland InSwindon chairman Paul Booth

The Swindon town centre January Farmers' Market has been cancelled over poor public support and bad sales forecasts for the month.

The weekly market, which takes place every Thursday in Havelock Square, was brought back to the town last October by popular appeal, but despite the initial excitement and steady flow of shoppers stallholders noticed a dramatic drop in trade since the first couple of weeks.

In an attempt to stem the dropping morale in stallholders, market manager Kardien Gerbrands said he has postponed the market until the end of February.

He said: [The market] hasn’t been at all well supported by the members of the public.

“If we had run it now we would have had three stalls, and my feeling is that that isn’t good for the market either.

“Swindon is a notoriously bad place to run a market. But I know that there are people in Swindon who want high quality fresh produce they can get from a Farmer’s Market.”

Morale has dropped so low among stallholders that Kardien fears that continual poor turnout could result in stallholders leaving.

He said: “Most of the stallholders run very small businesses, and if you are going to take a break the best time is in January.

“Hopefully after the break the stallholders will return with a renewed enthusiasm, especially as we head into spring and the strawberries and raspberries and other soft fruits come out.”

The bad weather has also had an adverse effect on footfall, damaging market sales.

Kardien said: “There is never an easy time on the farm, but the wet months of winter are exceptionally tough.

“With this in mind a decision was made to give those committed to the market a breather and to return at the onset of spring.”

The inSwindon BID Company and organisers of the Havelock Square Farmers Market still have hope for the market’s success and support from the public.

BID Manager Rebecca Rowland said: “It is early days for the market and we are committed to making it a long term success, despite a string of farmers markets failing in the town centre over the years.

“We will return in February with renewed vigour and do our utmost to make the market a success.”

The market will return with 15 stalls on February 27 from 9am to 2.30pm.

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