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Blackburn Market sets out it's stall to rival Bury...

31st October 2011

Categories: Town Centre News

According to Blackburn MP Jack Straw ‘you’d be hard pushed to find a better market anywhere else in the country’. We pitted the new Blackburn Market against Britain’s ‘best’ in Bury.

WITH 250,000 shoppers each week, including 25 coach-loads of visitors from as far afield as Wales and Liverpool, Bury has developed the much-envied reputation of having ‘Britain’s best market’.

And with 500 years under its belt, not a single one of its 370 stalls lies empty, and there is a healthy waiting list for traders.

But now there is a new pretender 19 miles down the road in Blackburn, heralding the next generation of markets designed to make the shopping experience as positive as possible for customers.

Size-wise Blackburn’s new £8million market is only around a third the size of Bury’s, but traders say it is a world away from the tired old market they have moved out of.

In fact they were involved in the design of their bespoke stalls, which have been fitted with the latest technology, and grouped around themes.

While Blackburn’s is part of a shopping centre, Bury’s traders always have to have an eye out for the weather with the rain putting people off visiting the open-air stalls.

Both markets offer an extensive range of meat, fish, fresh food counters, as well as coffee shops, delis, bakeries, gifts, cards, fashion, and health and beauty stalls.

The number may be fewer in Blackburn, but the quality and choice is certainly on a par.

And, on top of the variety, shoppers at Blackburn and Bury can undoubtedly find bucketloads of offers to rival supermarkets.

In fact, traders in Blackburn have reported an increase in younger customers since moving, many of whom have just realised the bargains on offer.

Since it opened, footfall at the market has increased and traders say it is developing its own special atmosphere.

Gill Howard, from Habikit haberdashery stall, said: “There are a lot of new stalls.

"People can pick up most of their shopping here, and it is cheaper than supermarkets.

"The meat and the fish is fresh, and people can eat in.”

Stewart Cunliffe, manager of Sanderson Bakery and Confectionery, said: “Looking at Friday’s trade it has been brilliant.

"It is getting better. I was in the other market and this is a lot better.

“The old market was out on a limb, but now we are in the hub of the town.

"People are beginning to get used to the new opening times because it was only a three day market in the old one.

Alison Gaskill, from Habikit, said: “Blackburn market is a lot better than the old one which died a death.

"This one has a friendly atmosphere. There are younger people as well as older ones shopping in the market.”

article from Lancashire Telegraph, October 2011

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