Under threat Whitwell market will close unless footfall rises

Gloria May and Lino Comini

Gloria May and Lino Comini - Credit: Archant

Shoppers in Whitwell are being told to buy local or risk losing the village farmers’ market after footfall fell last year.

Gloria May and partner Lino Comini have been running the market in Fellowship Hall for two years but need more people to visit.

The market takes place on the second Friday of each month and will probably close at the end of the month if numbers do not increase.

Gloria, who lives in Kings Walden, said: “It is not an easy thing for anyone to do, running a market, and I think a lot are struggling at the moment. Enthusiasm for farmers markets seems to be on the wane, but you don’t get fresher than this.

“The breads and cakes are baked the day before, and the vegetables are picked in Baldock on the morning of the market. But a lot of effort goes into putting it on, and making everything look good. And if we aren’t getting the footfall, it is just not worth it.”

The couple opened the market after closing their own shop and deli in 2000.

About 12 stallholders take part each month selling meats, cheeses, vegetables, bread and cakes.

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Gloria said footfall has been tailing off since last summer, and about 60 people now visit each month.

She said advertising the event was costing them money they aren’t making.

She added it been agreed they would be seeing how it went until the end of the month.

“We don’t run in January, but we have had a very good February and March, so hopefully this will continue in April,” she said.

“If it continues like this we might even be able to hold on until the end of the year.

“We just need more people, even if it is just half a dozen to come and spread the word.”