PLANS have been revealed to launch a makers market in Cheadle town centre.
Organisers have already begun a campaign to revive the traditional High Street market by offering free stalls on a Friday.
And they believe the introduction of a makers market, popular in other towns including Uttoxeter, would also prove to be a hit with both traders and shoppers.
They see the initiative as vital in helping to turn around the fortunes of the facility, which has been struggling to survive in recent years.
Dave Sargeant helps to oversee the High Street market and is a regular trader himself.
He said: “We’re very keen to revitalise the market and, from what people tell us and what we’ve seen on social media, many people in the town want to see that too.
“We came up with the idea of offering free stalls on a Friday and, while it’s only the second week, that has already been a success.
“But we also want to launch a makers market based here in our High Street.
“The idea has been tremendously successful elsewhere and we believe it could be a fantastic boost, not only for the market but the whole town.
“There are no end of local people who do their own arts and crafts at home, perhaps even as a hobby, as we saw during the arts festival in the town last month.
“We’re hoping they might want to get involved and we want to encourage them to do so.
“We’d like to get at least 10 stalls to start with, but hopefully that would grow over time.
“And fees for stalls won’t be an issue because we can always come to some sort of deal.”
Mr Sargeant said market owner Michael Don was right behind the idea of a regular makers market, which could be launched as early as next month.
But he admitted support from both traders and members of the public would be vital in making it a success.
He added: “We have tried to start a makers market in the past, but it died away.
“This time, we want to get as many stallholders as we possibly can right from the start.
“We’ll put posters up around town, we’ll advertise on a markets website and we’ll take leaflets to other facilities in the area in the hope of getting those traders to come here too.
“If organisations in or around Cheadle put on a craft market, we’ll visit them and encourage the stallholders to take part.
“But there are no end of people who make great things at home in this area and it would be lovely to see them come along too.
“The important thing is that it’s a two-way street. We want to revitalise the market and the makers market will be part of that.
“But there would be no point in getting the market stalls full of traders if the community doesn’t come along and support them.
“We need people in the town right behind this idea.”
Five traders took up pitches in the High Street on Friday – the second week of the free stalls initiative – despite poor weather.
There were only four at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s rival pop-up market in Greyhound Walk on the same day.
Mr Sargeant added: “Offering free stalls is an idea we came up with just to drum up more interest.
“If there are more traders on the market, then hopefully more people will come along.
“It’s been a success so far and we want it to keep growing every week.
“We’re advertising around the town and further afield and also on the internet.
“We’re trying to deliver what people in Cheadle want by getting the market moving again, but their support is absolutely key.
“If people want us to do this on a Saturday, rather than a Friday, then fine – we are flexible as long as the support is there from the community.
“This is the recognised market square and we believe that’s where the town’s market should be.
“If any traders in the Greyhound Walk market wanted to join us too, they’d also be very welcome.”
Florist Laura Edwards, who lives in Cheadle, was among three new stallholders at the market on Friday.
She said: “I saw they were advertising free stalls, so I thought I’d have a go because there was nothing to lose.
“I’ve just set up my own business, working from home, so this is the first time I’ve ever had a market stall.
“It’s a perfect opportunity to get my business out there and meet people and it’s been great.
“I know people in Cheadle want to see the market thriving, but they very much need to support it.
“A makers market is a fantastic idea and I’d very much like to get involved.”
Anyone keen to run a stall – either on free Fridays or at the makers market – is asked to call Mr Sargeant on 07988 958704 or market inspector Ray Wood 07970 336906.
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