TRADERS who saved their farmers’ market by joining forces under a co-op style association are now looking to make it a uniquely Hastings venture.
The Thursday market in Hastings town centre was in danger of folding because the community project running it could no longer afford to do so.
So traders decided to band together and earlier this year they set up a Hastings branch of the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF), a group that began in South Yorkshire to help traders run the markets themselves.
Now the federation is seeking to expand the number of stalls at the Robertson Street market, which it is hoped will make it more cost effective to host and able to offer more fresh produce to shoppers.
Already the stalls offer gourmet chesses, cakes and a variety of locally-sourced produce.
But the group is keen to diversify and cater for a wide range of tastes, and in particular create a weekly market that is typically Hastings.
Shelly Feldman, chairman of the Hastings branch of NMTF, said: “We want to make everything more specific to Hastings with local crafts and artists in the future, there’s already an application for a vintage clothing stall.
She added: “The council has been very flexible and supportive so we can spread out and have 20 stalls in the summer when trade is better.”
The NMFT are appealing for any traders who want to join them to come forward and make the Robertson Street market as vibrant as possible.
Town centre manager Rob Woods said: “We took the opportunity to work with traders as we were very willing to take the market forward.
“It started as a farmers’ market but now we are in the process of revamping to focus on local produce and help local businesses in general.
“It gives people a chance to experience a wide range of local products and it benefits and assists the regeneration of the town.”
Anyone interested in having a stall there are advised to head along on market day and make enquiries about joining the association.