New operators of Alnwick Market delighted with successful start - and now have sights set on further expansion

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The new operators of Alnwick Market have expressed delight at a successful start over the past three months.

Geraud (UK) was appointed to take over the running of the markets by Northumberland Estates in March only for lockdown to intervene and place it in hibernation.

It finally held its first market on June 11 and has enjoyed a good summer season with the number of stallholders rising to 35.

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James Ormsby, who is running the Alnwick markets on behalf of Geraud (UK), said: “We launched just as we were coming out of lockdown with Covid-secure features such as a one-way system and hand sanitisers.

Alnwick Market.Alnwick Market.
Alnwick Market.

“We had nine stalls but since then the number has gradually grown and the weekend just gone we had 35 stalls in the Market Square.

"We are looking to see how we can expand that. We’re looking to try and get some more gazebos in there. We believe we can take capacity up to 40.

"Even with 35, we’re still getting more traders wanting to join us. I am getting expressions of interest all the time.

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"What’s also nice is that we’re getting a lot of comments from traders who have been to other local markets and they’ve decided to come and join us in Alnwick so they have seen the work we are doing and obviously like it.

"As well as the market, we’ve tried to create a nice, little piazza area and some of the other cafe owners have started putting out tables which has helped to create a really great buzz.”

Markets take place on a Thursday and Saturday, plus a farmers’ and craft market on the last Friday of every month.

"The Thursday market has historically finished in August/September time but I have been speaking to the traders and I am more than happy that we keep it going provided we get the support,” James told a meeting of Alnwick Town Council.

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He also revealed that filming for a BBC documentary is pencilled in for September 25.

"They’ll be looking around the market at what we’ve done and focusing on some of the traders as well,” he said. “That will be a programme that goes out next year.”

Geraud (UK) also operates Stratford market in London, Forge market in Glasgow and Keswick market.

"We’re really proud of Alnwick,” said James. “We knew it had a lot of potential but after three months we weren’t expecting to be talking about approaching 40 stalls so it’s done really well.

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“We’re now using Alnwick Market as a template for the rest of our business. We’re using it as the model for how to launch other markets.”

Previous operator Local Living stepped away from running Alnwick market at the end of 2019.

Cllr Sue Patience said: “I have been delighted to see the market back and buzzing again.”

Cllr Peter Edge said: “It’s fantastic the way the market has got going.”

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Mayor Lynda Wearn added: “We are all delighted that the market now has so many stalls.”

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