Our Thursday weekly market at the old cattle market in Rope Walk has been running for many years, generally open from 7:30am to usually mid-afternoon each week, selling all sorts of essentials as well as clothing, bric-a-brac, household goods, plants, meat and fruit and veg to name but a few. Stall holders have changed over the years, many well known faces have come and gone but some stalwarts remain and the introduction of new stall holders helps to keep the market alive but looking at it last week there were many stallholders who for whatever reason, were conspicuous by their absence.
By contrast, on Fridays we have our Rye Country Market from 10am -11:30am at the Rye Community Centre on Conduit Hill where stalls sell cakes, preserves, savouries, free range eggs, seasonal vegetables, fruit, plants and handmade crafts. I am reliably informed that last week’s market was busy and productive.
On Wednesdays we have the opportunity to go to Rye Farmers Market, situated on the car park at the rear of the Cinque Ports on Cinque Ports Street where you can find a selection of game and meats, cakes, jams and preserves, cheeses and pate.
In an ideal world, could all three markets be combined to operate on the same day, at the same venue and at the same time? Surely if this were possible wouldn’t they all win, would one market with a bigger choice of stalls benefit the stall holders and us, the consumers?
There are those who argue that the Thursday market takes up too much parking space which in turn causes congestion elsewhere as visitors are forced to find somewhere else to park. It has been said on many occasion that many stalls seem to duplicate what they sell and the stalls which are needed either aren’t there at all or are there infrequently. Is Thursday the right day to have the market or is an alternative day going to attract more customers? On that point, what has happened to all the coaches which used to arrive in fleets, is Covid still the reason for them not being there in such numbers or is there another underlying reason?
I recently asked the stall holders at the farmers market why they don’t join the Thursday market, but it’s because on a Thursday they are committed to pitches elsewhere. Why is the country market on a Friday, could they not group together with the farmers market? I appreciate one is indoor the other outdoor but is there scope to change? I’m sure there are logical answers to all these questions but from a lay persons viewpoint I’m not aware of many other towns who are able to offer three separate markets every week and it begs the question are there enough punters to warrant having all three at three different venues on three different days of the week?
I appreciate that all three markets aim their products or produce at different sectors to different profiles of customer, call me old fashioned but is there a case for all three to consider working together or is the current arrangement beneficial to all concerned and the only possible or viable solution?
Image Credits: Nick Forman , Rye News Library , Susan Benn .