The fact that the stall holders are already leaving worries me a lot as it looks as though we shall not have a market for much longer. It seems to me a catch 22 situation, the stall holders are leaving because of the low foot fall the existing customers will leave because the stalls are not there.
I can not help wonder what the rational behind starting the market In November was. Winter time is not the time when you say "I know lets go shop at the market!" I am sure that in the summer there will be much greater foot fall and once people are in the habit of getting their food from the market they are more likely to continue into the winter but to try establish that habit in the middle of winter (not helped by the fact that this is such a cold and wet winter) is of course going to be more of an uphill struggle.
Given this I would urge the london farmers markets to encourage the stall holders to try stick it out at least until the end of the summer if at all possible, to give it a fair chance.
I guess it's understandable that stallholders worry about losses, but any business has to factor in start-up costs and I'd join Jac in hoping they'll stick it out till the summer and give us a fair chance. I'd also suggest that, in addition to the weather, there's significance in the fact that, given the amount of rented property round here, potential local users may have been away around Christmastime.
Though it may be a factor, and Borough undoubtedly wins on profile, I'm not sure I agree that Bermondsey Sq. suffers significantly by being so close to Borough Market. Prices in Bermondsey Sq. are better, it's less crammed with sightseers, and the surrounding footfall ought to be able to support it.
Any chance that Shortwave, Alfies and Del Aziz might come on board with some sort of coffee or breakfast specials for market purchasers? I know that when I've braved the rain I've found myself yearning for a reviving hot chocolate .....
I was thinking about this last night. Have you considered moth-balling the market until the spring and re-starting it with some fresh marketing? I agree that teaming up with the restaurants to offer discounted drinks & meals to tie in with the market could work well.
The danger of continuing through the winter months is that you get a downward spiral of stalls leaving, less people coming, more stalls leaving, etc. I know that without the fish monger I am unlikely to visit the market - sorry.
Thanks for your comments - they're all really interesting and it's great to know that you want the market to succeed. FYI I hope we're at last getting somewhere re. signage, which will help, and I'll make sure that the owners of the site see this thread.
Yes, it is sad to see the market so depleted of stalls and customers. I am not sure that 'offers' by the local restaurants/bars would solve the problem. They, too, are struggling through the winter months - but they are all open at the same time as the market.
The Cinema does refreshments and snacks/soups and opens at 10am on a Saturday; Alfies has a brunch menu and a two course lunch for £12.50 [as well as the takeaway] and Del Aziz are also open for brunch etc.
More leafleting may help - I'd be happy to distribute them around the 200 or so flats in City Walk.
Before the new building went up the Antiques market got loads of trade simply by people driving past on Tower Bridge Road or Long Lane and going "Ooh look!, the market is on!". Now nobody knows they are there.
The same is true for the Farmers Market. If it could be seen from the roads it would OK but as we've now got this big block of flats in the way no one knows it's there.
Plus November: not a good time to start such a venture. The spring/summer would surely be better. But it is insane that the Council appears to be taking offense at signs for the Farmers Market when it is such a good idea and really deserves support. Why aren't they helping instead of hindering?