Market traders on a mission

Markets manager Phil Edge is pictured with traders chairman Mike O'Connor and rug stall trader Geoff Henson
Markets manager Phil Edge is pictured with traders chairman Mike O'Connor and rug stall trader Geoff Henson

WIGAN’S traders are on a mission to return the town’s market to its former glory.

And next week in a bid to encourage people into the market and show them what is on offer traders will be coming together to hold a Love Your Local Market Day.

The day is part of a national campaign to showcase markets of all types and between June 23 and July 8 markets across the country will be hosting special days.

The plans for Wigan Market come in response to retail marketing consultant, Mary Portas’ report on the future of the high streets, which was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mike O’Connor, chair of Wigan’s Market Trader’s Federation, said: “There were two main things that came back from Mary Portas’ report and they were that the market places should be made a focus and that low cost parking should be available.

“So we got together with the council and The Galleries manager Richard Paxton to see what we could do to attract people back to the market.

“We see the market as a public service, just like the libraries and swimming pools are.

“We are a part of the community that can bring people together, offer them everything the need in one place and can even boost the local economy by encouraging them to buy local.

“Generations of families have shopped here and we want to let people know that we are still here and say thank you for their continued support, which is part of the motivation of the day we are putting on.”

In recent years out of town shopping centres and the internet have seen a significant increase in the number of town centre shops closing down.

But rather than accept the change in the way the people shop Mike and many other of Wigan Market’s traders are taking the matter into their own hands by holding an all singing all dancing fun day.

The day on Saturday June 30 has been jointly funded by the traders themselves and the Council and land owned by The Galleries has been donated to be used on the day.

There will be clowns, rides, Punch and Judy shows and donkey rides to name a few of the things that will be going on on the day.

Mike, who runs Sports Trends stall, said: “The idea of the day is to give something back to the public and we wanted to do something for the children to enjoy, so everything that’s on offer will be free of charge.

“We hope that as many people as possible come and make the most of the day and maybe next time they want to do some shopping they will bare us in mind, because Wigan’s markets have so much to offer.”

He added: “All the traders are really looking forward to the day and this event is just the start of what is going to be a long term scheme to get more people back into the market.

“For many years the traders have felt that the market has been left to long to survive by itself, but it takes more than that, which is why we have our own strategy to get the place ticking again.”