Maltby Street Revisited

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Bermondsey boy Monday 23 April 2012 3.14pm
Spartacus,

This is what I was trying to explain in my first post, a difference should be made between what traders, trustees and management want/think.

I do not want to create any trouble for myself, but believe me when I say that traders and management/trustees have very different opinions, on many different subjects. We, as traders and only traders have a forum where we discuss life at the market and I wish I could share it with you.

The hot food subject is probably the most divisive subject and I would say the majority of traders would like to see it disappear. the rest probably sells hot food!

I agree with my colleague Phil, Borough market is a fine food market, but a more than average take away place. The fine food is overshadowed by some stalls which produce foods, as one of my customer's kid put it: "The same food as the school canteen"

The problem, the stalls who sell hot food are the one that makes the big bucks and not the small food producers.

I have big hope in the three crow square development which hopefully people will be in place by the end of the year, where should have a clear separation between take away food and raw food!
boroughonian Monday 23 April 2012 3.23pm
We now have an area which is celebrated as the new foodie location,we have a market in this area which is very close to,and en route to,various tourist attractions and smack bang next to southwark cathedral,what a shock that those that run or oversee it should try and cater for tourists.
spartacus Monday 23 April 2012 4.45pm
damc wrote:
Spartacus, I sense some frustration. Pleade don't be. It is really important to me because i love the Market and it's importance in tjis community. There is a fundamental issue of accountability and not a relentless attack. Bemondsey Boy stated that traders that the tourism element is a problem to traders and is something they cannot control. He also clearly stated that they are responsible for their profit margins, which I have not disagreed with. The trustees recently released a public statement which clearly stated that ' Borough Market is trying to experiment with wholesale and make markets pleasurable tourist attractions'. In essence the Trustees and management are responsible for strategic direction and I would think that statement clearly shows their intent.
As for the facebooking and twittering, you are right I have not looked at it until this weekend when I found it on their website but the 'meet me at borough for a chorizo roll or lovely pie and gravy and love the mull wine' is probably (don't shout me down) munchers. This is more feel good PR which is not an issue but how are they advertising to me? When I say proper shopper, I mean not there to sample, browse, eat lunch and take photographs for flickr, facebook, twitter or my holiday album. If this issue poses problem to traders and customers like me, should it be ignored! A trader told me that Borough Market has lost serious shoppers. I thought it was interesting terminology but in context perhaps not.

If there is any frustration it relates to you making apparently unfounded statements / allegations in most of your posts.

I agree the grazing hordes of happy snappers in BM can be a nightmare, particularly from around 10am Saturdays - but at least there are quieter times to shop there. However, I find it bizarre that you object to people being given the chance to browse and sample. Unfortunately, several years ago Time Out magazine stated that one could get a free lunch by grazing around BM, and now shoppers there get barged out of the way by the human locusts as soon as a plate of freebies appears, so to limit their losses many traders now offer samples only to those who show real interest in their products.

However. if 'serious' shoppers are being lost, the tourists are not the only reason - they are just an easy target/excuse. There are other significant factors such as rising production, transport, ingredient and rent costs pushing up the end price, and reduced disposable income for many of us to spend. The only thing not increasing is the wage paid to traders employees!

The general consensus among the smaller traders at BM is that few are making decent profits, and (like it or not) among those that are doing well are the ones able to add a 'street-food' type product to their range. For example, Turnips, the most expensive fruit and veg trader on the market, has now added a salad bar to their juice and hot soup offering. They therefore compete not just with other fruit and veg merchants, but now may take business off the juice and organic salad bar just round the corner! Their products are not just more expensive, they are (imo) inferior, but the larger trader has apparently been allowed to do this, potentially at the expense of the smaller business. (btw, I don't work for either business). If I interpret some of the other posts correctly, there is now an element of street food appearing around Maltby - if so, it didn't take them long.

At first, the retail trade at BM and a few of the new eateries and bars around it were regarded as a 'secret' places, known only to relatively few locals and office workers - much like the reaction to Maltby when it first materialised. We could all give ourselves a hug knowing we were 'first' to spot it and be involved. It seems remarkable now, but about 10 years ago there was serious local debate for and against when it was proposed that the founding BM traders should be able to set up on every Saturday in a month, or on Fridays as well!

Ah, the lovely days not so long ago when one could mooch down to Maltby and get a coffee at Monmouth without queuing down the street behind the hoorays, yummmy mummies and Tristrams and their ghastly offspring..... Trouble is, Monmouth wanted the queues...not a just a few locals who were 'in the know'.

We started chatting about it on SE1, and the publicity machine took over....
damc Monday 23 April 2012 7.44pm
This merely my opinion and observations. I am not a solicitor or journalist, and am trying to debate an issue which is dear to my heart. I am always happy to be set straight on these. They are largely based on what I have researched, personally experienced and discussed with Traders. You are right that to a certain extent there are many challenges for Traders, one of which is the tourist element. Strategically, some on this Board took the decision to 'court' the lunch time and tourist trade - this from a trader who started at this Market, several years ago. This is a fact by the way, not an allegation. As for Turnips and the many big businesses in that Market, if they are ALLOWED to trample on the smaller businesses they would probably think it stupid not to, especially as running a business is not a vocation.
Davies Monday 23 April 2012 11.06pm
So, coming back to Maltby St market, you know, the topic, there are some interesting things happening, check it out.
longlaner Monday 30 April 2012 9.16am
Went to Maltby St on Saturday and, having not been for a few weeks, was surprised by how much has now migrated to the new site over near Spa Road. There are some great businesses there, and I can see the logic behind trying to keep the new venture from becoming a grazer's market where few people buy produce, but the whole thing now feels a bit diffuse and confusing. I got some rough directions to the new site from one of the Maltby St traders, but wandered around for a while - maybe a touch confused by the rain - before eventually finding it. I guess it will take off once the weather improves, but I was surprised when one of the traders said he thought it would take about two years for the market around Dockley Road to establish itself.
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