BY MJ Binns
With Kirkgate market having such a friendly atmosphere, it encourages people to open up their own stalls, which is positively shown by the fact there are over 600 stalls with 400 stalls inside and 200 outside and 250 business. Some stalls have been there for years, others for months and with a wide range of different businesses, there is a stall for everyone from fabrics to medicated herbs to volunteering for the council.
Phoebe Johnson, from B&M Fabrics, explained how the stall had been a part of the market for 6 years and is an expansion of their shop just outside the market. The original owner of the company who has now sadly passed away started the company by making wigs for people and a customer had lots of scrap fabric and asked her to take it and do what she wanted with it and as the business grew, they were able to get more fabric and different patterns. “You don’t feel like you have colleagues working here it feels more like a community,” Phoebe said.
The owner of a stall called Herbsville had been there for many years. He said: “Business comes in waves but it’s always busy at the weekends, there is always lots going on”, adding that the market “is a very friendly place”.
Andrina Dawson, from the Volunteer Centre Leeds, moved into the market around May/June this year. She said; “Covid affected the opening of the centre, but not really volunteering as a whole because people really came forward”. She added that they had “an overwhelming response initially from people that wanted to volunteer but we didn’t know what to do with them all, we didn’t have enough vacancies to put them in”.
“This is where we are going to get a diverse range of people, we want to make sure we reach people from all different backgrounds, not just one certain type of person”