Major renovation project to the Market Village
Forge Shopping Centre, which is based in East Glasgow, opened in 1988. Groupe Geraud took on the lease of the indoor market in March 1989 and recently renewed it for a further fifteen years in October 2013. The site was re-branded to the Market Village when they renewed the contract. There are nine Market Villages in the company, with the others being at Brixton, Stratford, Cwmbran, Perry Barr, Sutton, Aberdeen, Clydebank and Washington.
Renovation of the market was long overdue and upon successfully negotiating their new lease, Groupe Geraud committed significant financial investment for the current refurbishment programme, which started in the summer of this year and is nearing completion. I went along to see the progress that has taken place and to speak with some of the traders.
The Market Village is easily found, situated just inside the main entrance to the mall and looks a clean and welcoming trading facility. The two new units at either end of the market facade are occupied and are bright and colourful businesses. To the left is Hair City which is owned by May Feng. They sell a huge range of hair extensions with are made from human hair, along with wigs and hair pieces in every colour imaginable; all making for a very vibrant display.
At opposite ends of the centre is the new Turkish Barbers, Gogo’s. Originally specialising in men’s hair only, they now offer ladies’ styling too. They have been trading for ten years within the Market Village and moved from inside the centre to this prime location at the front just three weeks ago. The unit is tastefully decorated and has a bright, modern and clean feel. Gokhan, who owns Gogo’s was delighted with the relocation. He has a regular customer base but the positioning has bought in new trade and walk-ins as appointments aren’t always necessary.
Just inside the entrance, past Hair City is SSS Direct, selling ladies, gents and children’s casual wear. The business is owned by Salman Beg (Sal) and he has been trading at the village for four years. His unit has recently been completed and is the same position he has always had. During the renovation he was temporarily relocated and has said that the communication throughout the whole process has been good. He is very hopeful that the refurbishment will generate some new life into the market.
Sal’s father runs a similar business in the Forge Market, just across the road, which is also operated by Groupe Geraud. This is where Sal started his trade and he has previously operated on outdoor markets. He loves the fact that his business isn’t weather dependant and can just pull down the blinds and leave at the end of the day. I asked him how two indoor markets, located so close together can operate simultaneously and he explained that, ‘The Forge Market is advertised, you get lots of tourists there. It’s more of a destination place. You can buy everything there from a hair clip to a fitted kitchen. This is a locals’ market, where people come in week in week out’. Right on cue, a regular customer popped in to purchase some socks.
An A frame sign board, positioned at the front of the entrance promotes Charlie’s Butchers. Charlie’s is a big ‘pull’ for the indoor market, having traded there since its conception, twenty six years ago. Their unit is at the far corner which means walking past a number of empty carcases that are either recently completed or almost ready, but because these are newly painted and therefore look clean and appealing, you don’t get the feeling of walking through a building site, in fact, it’s intriguing to know what’s going to be occupying the spaces.
The business is a partnership between Charlie Hamilton and Paul Currie, both of whom were employees of the Dewhurst Group and between them and their team, Paul claims that they have over 200 years of butchery experience! They moved within the centre to a larger, corner plot in June. This coincided with the employment of Mrs Hamilton, who is responsible for making their homemade steak pies. Before the relocation, size constraints meant they had to buy pies in as there was insufficient space to produce them properly within food regulation guidelines. Charlie’s had made them previously and the recipe is a family secret. The meat is marinated overnight before cooking and the gravy which the pie is cooked in is sold separately. I was fortunate enough to be able to try one and it has a great homemade taste, with plenty of chunks of melting steak.
Other specialities are value meat packs, and new to me, fruit pudding. Their customer base is expansive and includes Dundee and Corby. One customer was even stopped for attempting to take their sausages in to Australia! To further encourage repeat business, they hold a weekly meat raffle and are active on social media. It was lovely to witness the interaction between the customers and staff.
Following round from Charlie’s is the amusement arcade which is a rather unusual addition but unlike the reputation many of them have for being unpleasant environments, this one has an incredibly thick, soft carpet.
There are a number of eateries inside The Market Village, a traditional style café, Chinese and the newly renovated Benson’s Pantry. Benson’s are a family run business with three premises within the Forge markets, the others being in the Forge Indoor Market and in the main part of Forge Shopping Centre.
Tina Morris, the joint owner of Benson’s explained that they planned their five week refurbishment to coincide with that of the complex and were only closed for a few days, with most of the work being completed in the evenings. They have extended into another unit and now have a central servery with two seating areas, offering both fixed, upholstered bench seating along with traditional movable chairs. The overall effect is a clean, modern, bistro-style welcoming environment. According to Tina, they have been slowly improving the pantry over the last ten years and the customer response has been really positive. They get a lot of repeat business with some being overspill from the other cafes although she estimates that 80% are regulars. Their food offering is quite extensive, from traditional Scottish fare of mince and tatties and macaroni, to paninis and cakes, these can be eaten in or taken away and they offer a full table service.
Benson’s employ almost 70 people across the three sites, something that Tina, her mum Mandy, brother Mitchell and husband Jonathan are very proud of.
Another long standing member of the Market Village is Sharon McCuaig, she has been hairdressing in the same location for 22 years and recently moved in to her completed unit. She was busy cutting hair when we spoke and had several people waiting. Appointments aren’t necessary and most of her trade is walk-ins. She is currently looking for another stylist to help her out and said that the competition from the barbers had affected her business and to combat that she had adjusted her pricing, which clearly seems to have worked.
A number of traders are in temporary units whilst their previous one is upgraded, this includes Oceans Nail, who didn’t appear to be affected by the move as they had made their ‘shop’ look bright and enticing and had a constant stream of customers, as did Jens Haby and Fancy Dress. They are another of the original traders and despite moving to a different position, they had been re- located towards the front of the complex which would assist in them acquiring passing trade. Signs on the former shop advise customers of the move and there was a constant stream of customers of varying ages, including youngsters looking for Halloween costumes As the names suggest, they specialise in haberdashery and fancy dress costumes. Unfortunately the Manager was not available to interview at the time but business looked brisk.
Mary Mackay from Personal Pressies is eagerly waiting to return to her upgraded shop, which she hopes is imminent so that she can start displaying her personalised Christmas sacks. She has a food outlet opposite her at the moment and one round the corner. She is concerned that some of her fabric based items may be absorbing food smells, however, on the plus side, being located close to Charlie’s, who bring in a lot of customers, she admits to having acquired some of these.
Mary came to the market two years ago, having previously occupied a shop and she finds this much better all round. She commented, ‘It’s really nice and friendly here, there’s a good atmosphere. The refurbishment should be really good when it’s finished. It’s long overdue.’
Her comments mirror those of Stephen Henson from Henson’s shoe repairs who commented, ‘the core of the people here are like a family, there are several long standing traders and everyone is looking forward to the completion of the refit’ His father started the business twenty years ago and Stephen has been managing it for seven. The split of the trade is 50/50 between shoe repairs and key cutting and they also offer a personalised plaque service.
Despite being a Thursday, there were plenty of customers, both in the mall and the Market Village and you could easily be forgiven for thinking it was a Saturday. Any disruption that may have been caused due to the refit is inevitable but it doesn’t seem to have deterred customers. I look forward to revisiting Parkhead Market Village in six months time to see how everybody has settled in to their new premises.
Rates and Contacts
The average weekly rent is £240.00 for a 10’x10’ pitch, although prices do vary based on the location of unit. Groupe Geraud operate ‘license’ agreements in the centre for six or twelve months and are inclusive of VAT, energy, and rates. The only additional charges would be to have an individual telephone line installed, if required, and they must have their own stock/public liability insurance.
A deposit of four times the weekly unit rent is required upon taking a unit, which is fully refundable should the trader leave providing that: the minimum license period has been served, the required notice period has been fulfilled, their accounts are not in arrears and there is no damage to the unit upon vacating.
The licenses are ‘rolling’ contracts, and a trader is required to have traded for the minimum of that license agreement before they are in a position to serve notice to leave. A notice period of either six or twelve weeks (dependant on license) must be given to fulfil their license agreement and to ensure return of their deposit.
Each new unit comes complete with lighting and independent lighting control, independent electrical power and sockets, and (where required, and possible) the company can provide water/waste services for certain trade types. Each unit is also given a PVC roller blind as security to their unit, and the entire market building is secured and alarmed outside of trading hours. Units are also provided with outside bulkhead signage.
Area Manager, Craig Taylor commented, “the centre’s refurbishment is long overdue and we are extremely excited to be nearing completion of the works. Our valued traders have been very patient and understanding during the disruption within the centre during this time and their loyalty to the market is extremely humbling to us, for which we offer our utmost thanks. We are currently planning some major events and advertising for a formal re-launch of the market once everything is completed.”
The Market Village is open Monday to Saturday from 09.00 -17.30 and Sunday 11.00-17.00.
For lettings enquiries please contact one of the following, or call into the centre for a face-to-face chat with our centre manager Mr. Neil Gillespie:-
Neil Gillespie – tel: 0141 554 4711, mob: 07476 187 628, e: email@example.com
Craig Taylor – tel: 07769 742 348, e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Brownlie – tel: 07711 669 039, e: Robert@forgemarket.co.uk