Enfield Market is owned by the Old Enfield Charitable Trust and has had a Charter since 1303. In 2014, the market was running at a loss and so 2015 saw an investment in excess of £100k with the unveiling on the new-look market on 1 October.
Situated in the Market Place in the heart of the town, it is surrounded by some historic buildings, including the 14th Century St Andrews Church and Grade II listed Kings Head pub. It is an important part of community life, with the Trust donating around £250k a year to a vast array of local community projects.
As well as the aesthetic improvements to the market, which includes new white gazebos for all the traders which are branded with their trading name and the Trust’s logo; a new layout of between 70 and 80 stalls (some of which are allocated to casual traders) and a new street food area, they have also improved the services for traders. They have introduced a new administrative system and have asked traders to apply for a Market Pass. This covers all the legislative requirements and flags up renewal dates, making sure that everybody is up to date. Traders are given their own page within the website and free WiFi has been installed to allow them to update social media ‘live’ during quieter trading periods or at the beginning of the day.
They have introduced a customer loyalty card called Droplet Pay. It acts as a cashless payment system that will benefit the trader by capturing customer data, the customer by rewarding them with discounts for their loyalty and the community by giving a donation to worthwhile causes.
Despite being January and snow persistently trying to break through, the market was well attended; the lack of rain, coupled with the winter sunshine may have had some bearing. What immediately stood out was the neatness of the market with the branded white gazebos. It looked clean and inviting and the names above each stall gave a professional image. It will be interesting to visit after a couple of years to see how they look after a few seasons of our variable weather.
Enfield market has a good mix of products on offer, from the expected to the unexpected. One of the unexpected is Robin’s Nest Comics. Jack Bardsley decided to set up the stall in October and got in to comics through a flat mate. Jack sells a range of new and second hand comic books and accessories three days a week and had this to say of the experience, ‘This has been a very steep learning curve. What I sell is very niche and so you have to have patience and be prepared to stick at it. The customer response has been very good and the trust gave me a good introductory rate to get me started.’
Bindi is the trust’s administrator and she runs her second hand book stall to help raise funds for street children in India. As previously mentioned, the trust is very community and charity driven and where possible, they try to offer a charity stall each week. Whilst I was there, the RSPB was raising awareness for its cause. There is a Market Manager on site but traders often run things past Bindi as well as the Market Representative, Richard Landsberg.
Richard runs The Watch Stall which is an offspring of a family business that his father started 42 years ago and Richard took over 28 years ago. He had a steady stream of customers, ‘mostly adjusting straps on watches they got as Christmas presents!’ He said of the market, ‘The traders have unique relationships and bring in new customers all the time. It’s great that we encourage new traders, but they have to realise that you have to put a lot of effort in. A market needs established traders as well to support the new ones.’
One of the newer ones is Wilde’s Cheeses, who started two months ago, although the company has been in business for three years. Chris McAteer has been managing the stall, talking customers through the range of Tottenham made cheeses and letting them sample before they buy. The stall seemed to attract plenty of attention and Chris commented that the cheese had been well received.
Also selling cheese is Peppe Armetta whose stalls represent an Italian deli selling top quality produce, including pasta, oils, vinegar, sauces, parma ham and salamis.
The Cured Meat Company sells a range of predominantly French saucisson and Spanish chorizo. Graham George travels from Peterborough each day and joined the market after the refurbishment and has established a steady trade.
A successful trader is one that interacts with his customers and that is something Glen Norman of Glen’s Fruit and Veg does particularly well. One of his customers told me, ‘I always come here. The quality is very good and Glen is very friendly.’ Glen added, ‘You have to have a bit of banter! We sell quality fruit and veg, that will last you a week, not a bowl full of stuff about to go off for a £1’ He has been trading at Enfield since 1990 and has ‘a regular, loyal following.’ Glen used to sell from a shop in Walthamsow and in his words, ‘it’s all I know’
Another trader popular with customers was Chris Lane who runs the flower stall selling cut flowers from Lincolnshire, where he lives. He has been trading for eighteen years and has seen lots of changes and it was apparent by the interaction with his customers that he has built up a good regular trade. He’s recently moved pitch and several customers were commenting that they thought he’d gone. Fortunately ‘the kind man on the bread stall told me where you were’, commented one customer.
Award winning Victoria Bakery started baking in Enfield in 1820, they have since moved to Barnet but sell their loaves, cakes and savouries at the market on all three days for the last eighteen months. James Freeman, the proprietor, is the fourth generation and as well as baking traditional family loaves, they have a vast range of speciality breads including sourdoughs and soda breads. I can vouch for the quality of the sourdoughs I tasted and the one I took home! They were very positive of the markets revamp, saying that trade levels were notably improved.
The ‘Food Court’ is a new concept that was part of the re-brand in October. Food stalls run along either side through the centre of the market to the band stand (or market house as it is also referred to) where entertainers and buskers are encouraged to perform. Large wooden picnic tables can seat up to 80 people and are arranged down the centre for customers to consume their purchases. The stalls are provided with electricity and water and traders can choose to wear the Enfield Market branded aprons which are provided. There is a variety of food on sale from French crepes to Turkish Gozleme and Mexican Tacos. These are just some of those that I spoke with.
Emma Cooper of Cakes and Treats for All is new to market trading. This was only her second week, although her mum had the neighbouring stall selling baked potatoes, so she had an idea of what to expect. Emma has been making cakes for friends for several years and decided ‘new year, new start’ and so brought her brownies and blondies to market for the people of Enfield to enjoy on a Saturday. She has considered what other traders sell and has tailored her offering accordingly. Samples of the traditional chocolate were available at it was the perfect brownie, fudgy in the middle with a crusty outer. She has some interesting varieties and will introduce a flavour of the month and seasonal variations. She commented that the support had been good and she had gleaned a lot of interest.
Further evidence that with the right help, you can make a career change and become a retailer is Carmelo Mariosa of Carmelo’s Cucina Italiano. A former MOT garage owner at Wood Green, he took the plunge in October, bringing his Italian family recipes to the food court. His Arancini were huge, the size of oranges, but it is his gourmet burger which he is most proud and is the biggest seller. He spoke highly of the support received from Ellie and the team, particularly with getting started with social media. He commented, ‘I definitely made the right decision, everyone has been very supportive.’
Jasmine and Mac joined the market when the food court opened in October and have some good, regular customers. They sell Vietnamese street food, such as a spicy filled baguette, and Pho (pronounced Foo) a beef broth which they slow cook for 20 hours and is garnished with noodles, shredded beef and vegetables. Their food is cooked to order, guaranteeing freshness.
The smell of barbecued meat was wafting through the market and I tracked it down to a converted kettle drum full of Jerk Chicken! This could be found on Sugar Dumplin, an Afro Caribbean food stall which also sold the dumplings its name suggested as well as Jamaican Patties and curried goat with rice and peas. Sean Grant was pleased with how well his food had been received and said that he had been very busy over recent months.
The market is always keen to hear from traders, whether established, start up or casual and have great incentives as well as ongoing training, support and advice. You will also be supplied with a liveried Gazebo and your own page on the market website.