The roads were closed once again as visitors flooded to the first Sharrow Vale market of the year on April 21st.
Diverse cuisine, arts and crafts and a dancing Scooby-Doo were all at the scene as families and couples turned up to enjoy the Sunday sunshine.
The market, which happens three times a year proved to be another great success as thousands turned up to sample some of Sheffield’s local delights; arts and crafts, coffee and cake and antique furniture, to name just a few. It also catered for children by having bouncy castle and kids books stalls.
Sharrow Vale markets, which began in 2009, are hosted by the Sharrow Vale Community Association (SVCA). This is a group made up of local residents, traders, church members and students who have an ambition to create and maintain an active, healthy community. Shelley Brown, publicity coordinator for SVCA said it is not just about the business of stalls. “We hoped that the markets would not just be a shopping experience but a musical and activity event for all the family.” The organisation of the markets is also supported by local church The Crowded house. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without them.” She said.
The idea for the Sharrow Vale markets came from an event that a local restaurant had organised several years ago- of having a music day at the bottom of the one-way section on Sharrow Vale Road.
The popularity of the markets grew quickly after the first three were held; they have now obtained a footfall of approximately 1000 vistors per hour for the last year and attracted people from further afield than Sheffield such as from Leeds, Penistone and Huddersfield.
But why are they so popular?
Jill Summers who has attended the markets as a customer ever since they began said she thinks it is because they help the profits of local businesses. “I think it’s really important to support local produce otherwise businesses won’t be able to survive and eventually there would be non-left.”
Her thoughts echo that of Steve Jones, who runs Leeza’s Cakes with his wife Eliza Murina. Although the couple are not from Sheffield- he is from Liverpool, she from Russia, they chose to bring their small business to Sheffield. They started attending the markets last July and Mr Jones said the markets have had a positive impact on their business. “Every time we come we sell more and more. It also helps us promote our business so more people are aware of what we do.”
Also because most of the businesses do not open on a Sunday, the market provides an opportunity to increase their sales as they are participating in an extra day of business.
Self-employed Emma Drury who worked on The Little Books Worm stall said her stall had been slightly quieter than Christmas. “I have had a stall at five of the markets, I haven’t sold as much as at Christmas but the day has still massively increased my daily intake which is good.”
Although the market stalls are certainly a main and important part of the day, the markets are also important to the area as a whole because they raise the profile Sharrow Vale and of the independent shops.
Shelley from the SVCA said this has proved that the event has a long term effect as appose to only increasing sales on the day. “I still hear people say that they didn’t know this road existed. Visitors will come back and spend money in the shops but the market is only there for the day.”
This long term effect that the markets has had on the Sharrow Vale area is certainly a positive movement towards supporting more local, independent companies in Sheffield. The low budget cost of the markets make them financially practical and because the popularity of the markets has bred through its own success advertising is not a massive operation. The only downside of the SVCA being the organiser’s is that they are volunteers, which means having to fit planning the markets around their own paid jobs.
Shelley said they start organising the next one very soon after the last. “It doesn’t leave us much time for a breather. Due to this we have decided not to do a market in September/October this year as the October one last year was too close to Christmas for us volunteers to turn around without draining us.”
As the markets are hard work to organise and would not be possible without volunteers, the SVCA ask anyone who would like to volunteer or be involved in some way to contact Shelley at firstname.lastname@example.org. By doing this it helps SVCA alert people of meetings, updates and more volunteering opportunites.
For anyone interested in renting a market stall space the cost is £30 and application forms can be found on the SVCA’s website at http://www.sharrowvalecommunityassociation.co.uk/market/.
The dates for the Sharrow Markets for 2013 are:
14th July and December 1st.
All run on a Sunday from 12pm-4pm.
For any more information about the markets visit http://sharrowvale.co.uk/sharrow-vale-market/