Traders concerned by 'a lack of buzz' at indoor market
CARMARTHEN's £4 million indoor market needs to do more to attract shoppers, according to trading leaders.
The manager of St Catherine's Walk and member of Carmarthen Chamber of Commerce, Mike Pugh, says there seems to be apathy among market traders and that it lacks the buzz of other markets found elsewhere.
He cited Oxford Market as being vibrant and full of bustling noise and activity.
However, traders at the indoor market claim they need more support and called for help from landlord Carmarthenshire Council.
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At a meeting of Carmarthen Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Mr Pugh said: "Market retail is one of the fastest growing sectors but in Carmarthen's it is not.
"There needs to be more banter and character there to create the right atmosphere to attract people in but it's all too clinical.
"There needs to be a change of attitude from the top down."
Following the chamber meeting, trader Suzette Legg, who runs children's clothing store Bo Peep outside the market, agreed that the market was in need of a shake-up and risked slipping into decline.
However, she said the county council needed to show greater interest and support to traders.
She said footfall and business was sliding away from the market, adding: "Over the last 18 months I have seen it slipping downhill.
"It is happening but the council are not doing enough to promote us.
"Last year we had Raymond Blanc the chef here doing demonstrations and it was great, but since then we haven't seen anything like that which has attracted people.
"We have to reinvent ourselves here, but without the council's help how can we?"
Criticism was also levelled by some members of the chamber of commerce at the number of units at the market which are not open all week — despite being contracted to open Monday to Friday.
This prompted calls for space to be created for new starter traders in front of closed stalls throughout the week.
Mr Pugh said: "If stalls are not being opened then the contracts should end.
"There could be a start-up day, where new traders can come along and for a peppercorn rent trade for the day."
A Carmarthenshire Council spokesman said: "We have been working closely with traders over the past 12 months to promote the market and encourage more footfall with a targeted media campaign as well as a range of events.
"We will be continuing this work, and as always we will be happy to hear ideas and suggestions from traders."