Friday, May 14, 2010

To Market, To Market....

Today was an opportunity for Shepton Mallet to shine...and shine it did!
I'm sorry if this post is of little interest to those of you who may visit my little corner of the www for a nostalgic post, but today I need to look forward...(I like to keep my blog as a bit of a diary, so to be able to write about things going on local to me is important. I have taken a risk setting up my shop in a less than thriving town, so it will be good to look back on my blog in the future when hopefully Shepton's fortunes will have changed for the better...)

A huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes to re-launch the market today and to secure its future. This time I think the local councils and other organising bodies got it right; it was a success and a huge amount of fun was had by all. There has been a market taking place in the town for centuries, which makes it even more vital that its history continues...
I arrived early(ish!) this morning and the finishing touches were being put to some of the stalls on the Market Place.

A band were also doing their sound checks ready to rock the socks off the shoppers!

11am was the time of the official opening ceremony performed by local celeb Michael Eavis, founder/organiser of the famous Glastonbury festival.

A large crowd gathered to see him standing on the ancient market cross and listened to his excited words announcing the market open. He seemed genuinely overjoyed to see the huge turn out of people (admittedly not quite on a Glastonbury festival scale, but huge for Shepton, and more than could have been optimistically hoped for.)

Then the band struck up a belting tune and hardly paused for breath all morning, to well past lunchtime. With well known songs from Coldplay and Take That, to ACDC, The Jam and The Wurzels(!); there was something for everyone. And seeing the two elderly ladies in their plastic anoraks dancing to 'Sex on Fire' was a sight not to be missed! ;-))
As wonderful as they were, my one small criticism (given that the band was just a few feet from my door) was that they were very loud - no, not just a sign that I must be getting older! - but a criticism that I was unable to talk to customers coming into my shop...we ended up having to mime, as if we were at a concert or in a club! Everyone coming in had a smile on their face though and were all excited about how well the new venture had been supported...I think some of the older longstanding locals who know Shepton well, were the most surprised as they knew how the town once was with its thriving market, so could finally see how it could be again...

I love this picture of the three groupies - there should be a witty caption to go with it...but its been a long day...

(answers on a postcard please!)
I'd have loved to have walked around to capture some better photos, but had to be 'on duty' least I did have a great view from my counter and could watch everyone enjoying their day.

For several hours I couldn't see up the high street through the old stone arch for the crowds -brilliant to see though and not something I had experienced since opening in January.

Wisely, the market management have been very generous with lower rents and incentives to keep the stall holders coming back on the Fridays to all is looking rosy for the continuation of the ancient market tradition in Shepton Mallet.
Have a lovely weekend...I shall be back with my more usual 'fluffy' and nostalgic posts again soon ;-))
Niki x


  1. Just a quick "Terrific!" Niki. Wish I could have been there but now see that I must combine my visit to your shop with the market - therefore will try to get there on a Friday. Thank you for covering the occasion so well for those of us watching from the sidelines.

  2. Niki I have been thinking of you and this event on and off all day! I really identify with the town's efforts, perhaps because we are now in a similar town in France, and also loved life in a Cumbrian market town when we were first married. So to see a town pull itself together and really make a go of its wonderful market heritage is very exciting to me. Thanks for the prompt update and very best of luck to you and Shepton!

  3. It is so lovely to see that your council take the local tradition of a market so seriously, I applaud them and the citizens of Shepton Mallet for working hard to keep it going. Sadly I live in a new town well 1938ish, and our council are not so sympathetic to the area. Shops are charged extortionate rents and rates, the only markets we are allowed are the very overpriced French and Italian markets. Our Shopping centre has quite a high turnover of shops, the only saving grace is a very large John Lewis. I am really interested to see your diary of Shepton and look forward to future posts.
    Nicky x

  4. Hi Niki

    I couldn't make it in the end as by the time the court hearing in Bath was over and we had lunch, it was too much of a rush back so I spent some time with Miss P in Bath. I am glad that the event was a success. It should help Shepton Mallet's future. Alan was disappointed he couldn't photograph the event but he had to work!
    On the last photo, I recognised someone I know. Bottom right hand corner the lady with short hair and a purple coat. She's Miss P's best friend's Mother.

    Have a lovely weekend

    Take care
    Isabelle x

  5. That looks fab Niki, so pleased to see the market coming alive ... did you get a good mix of generations. You couldn't of asked for a better person to open the market ..... he brings people to his events from all over the world ... now that is someone who knows how to market a product. Still think a good old antiques/flea market in the town would be could to have too - maybe at the same time as the food market. Anyway so pleased for you ... and yes i still have plans to get there ... in fact am itching to get in that shop. I follow your blog with great enthusiasm window shopping as i go along - though by the time i get there the stock will be completely differnt.

    anyway great post.
    best wishes always Ginny x

  6. Hi Niki

    So glad the day was such a success. The market can only do great things towards the regeneration of Shepton.

    Would have loved to have visited but will certainly get there soon!

    Sue x

  7. Niki what a wonderful little village you have your shop in. It looks as though you had a great turnout and I hope that this tradition keeps on going and growing for the people and shopkeepers of Shepton Mallet! I just wish I lived closer...oh well one day I'll get across the pond and drop in to say hello and have a good old look-around in your shop. Take care....Maura:)


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx