Online Bradford street market ‘a lifeline’ for traders
With lockdown restrictions easing, but social distancing measures likely to be the new normal, the online Bradford Street Market said it will continue to provide much-needed support to local businesses with the aim of raising their online profile and boosting sales.
Now in its eleventh week, the Bradford Street Market co-founder, Catherine Simes, said the market has gone from strength to strength during lockdown, with 200 stallholders taking part and 4,000 shoppers regularly browsing the stalls each week.
She said: “Shoppers have really enjoyed discovering new local businesses – there’s an army of talented Bradford makers, artists and producers out there and we’re unearthed some real hidden gems, bringing them together in one place for the first time.
"The variety and quality of products available has really showcased the best of Bradford’s independents. It’s also encouraged people to change the way they do business, moving online and even offering delivery services.
“We’ve worked hard to create a positive, market-style atmosphere in the group and it’s brought a bit of fun and community to Thursdays in Bradford, some saying it’s the highlight of their week.
"People seem to have a real appetite to support local businesses. My hope is that this support will continue after the lockdown and people will appreciate the value of backing local businesses and keeping money in the local economy."
Ursula Sutcliffe, who works at the Plant One on Me Yorkshire houseplant shop, said: “The Bradford Street Market has become a lifeline for traders and customers throughout the Covid-19 lockdown and the continued support means that businesses have a fighting chance to come back stronger.”
Sobia Bashir, at Sobia’s Spice Kitchen, said: “Start-ups rarely have the finances to throw into a marketing campaign and so we rely heavily on word of mouth.
"So when Catherine contacted me about her plans I jumped at the chance. Bradford Street Market has enabled me to promote my business beautifully.
"There is a real market feel from the comfort of my own home. I've been able to speak with my customers and with other traders just as though we were all physically together in one place.
"It's a lovely atmosphere, I say that every single week and it's an absolute joy to host the market too. Thursdays are the highlight of my week for sure.”
Gunther Giangregorio, at Roswitha’s Deli, said: “It has definitely helped our business and we’ve gained new customers who have told us they found us on the Bradford Street Market group.
"The launch of the market prompted us to create our own Facebook page so you could say that all our followers are down to the market. It has also helped us to reconnect with lapsed customers and enable us to arrange deliveries to customers that are isolating.”
Stallholder, Jesse Delacruz, added: “The Bradford Street Market has helped my little crafting business survive.
"It's a friendly place to trade and I look forward to posting my goodies on the page each week. You get a great feeling of community spirit in this spectacular market that welcomes us all with open arms, its genius.”
The online Bradford Street Market was launched in April by Ms Simes, otherwise known as You Can Take the Girl Out ofBradford, and Ms Sutcliffe, owner of the Plant One on Me Yorkshire plant shop in Bradford city centre, as a response to the corona virus lockdown.
The idea was to create an online, market-like atmosphere where vendors could connect with customers old and new and shoppers could support Bradford’s local independent businesses.
The market opens at 9am on Thursdays. Independent retailers, makers and artists are invited to contact the Bradford Street Market if they would like to participate.