The first thing that struck us was how the market had started to spread, with stalls in front of the Post Office, drawing shoppers from the car park and into the Market Hall.
The area was bustling, with food, cakes, and a ‘Ye olde fashioned sweetie stall’ – difficult to walk past I have to say!
Inside the Teanlowe the buzz continued, with a stall against the escalator selling toys for Christmas – very apt at this time of year and doing a grand job at bringing seasonal cheer to the open space in the centre of the mall.
The trimmings were up and the strains of a busker playing outside the door were carrying through the air. Very good he was too, with people stood nearby watching and enjoying the entertainment – just the kind of thing to brighten the atmosphere and make people slow down and take a minute. Although maybe carols or Christmas songs would have been more apt!
Walking through the Market Square the stalls had certainly increased in number and improved in quality in the recent weeks since the market began.
A ladies clothes stall, accompanied by accessories and scarves and flanked by gentleman’s hats and winter warmers spread the stalls down to the main road, filling the area with space left only for a couple of others in weeks to come.
In front of the Teanlowe and up to St Chad’s the place was alive with market banter and people enjoying the bargains to be had.
The cheese stall looked like they could have used an extra assistant as a stream of people were considering which flavour to buy and then make their purchase. The fruit and vegetable stall is certainly very popular and with bunches of bananas going at 50p a pop you didn’t need to wonder why!
Talking to shop keepers, the majority were pleased with the effect that the market has had on trade in the area – it’s certainly been a lot more busy and increased footfall has got to lead to increased sales. Gabrielles gift shop is now opening on Monday when it was closed before, Peacocks are certainly benefitting from the increase in trade and the meat and pie shop next door to Peacocks was bursting at the seams when we passed!
Even on an inclement and cold day in the middle of December the new weekly market made a tremendous difference to the amount of people around in Poulton town centre, and so made the place come to life. The whole day was dull and so it started to drop dusk earlier than normal, which brought with it a wintery and Christmassy feeling as the lights started to come on in shops and on stalls.
Coming back to the car at gone 3.30pm (when this photo was taken) I was struck by just how busy the Teanlowe car park still was.
At 1.30pm on Monday when we arrived there were spaces and parking wasn’t a huge problem, but the large car park was certainly much fuller than usual.
Interestingly, a quick survey when walking through the car park revealled that almost every other car had a residents parking permit, which just shows that there were a large number of local people here patronising their own town centre and supporting the local shops, which is fantastic news.
It’s really encouraging to see how something as simple as a weekly market has started to revitalise a quiet town centre, and it can only go from strength to strength. Poulton could have taught Mary Portas a thing or two!
Poulton market cheese stall
Stalls in the market square
Christmas in the Teanlowe Centre
Packed town centre car park