THE launch of Bradford Street Market’s online Christmas market today will offer a lifeline to some of the city’s independent retailers struggling to make ends meet in the pandemic.
The Christmas market will run for the next four weeks, with founders encouraging people to shop local and support independents.
Founder of the Bradford Street Market, Catherine Simes, said: “At what should be the busiest time of year for retailers, our high streets are closed to us. We’re asking people to spread the joy this festive season and pledge to support their local businesses this Christmas.
Catherine said: “The Bradford Street Market is not just a buying and selling site. We’ve created a real sense of community on the market since the first lockdown in April. People have really valued coming together every Thursday and discovering what our stallholders have to offer.”
Catherine launched the online Bradford Street Market in April during the first lockdown. Over 300 local businesses have now taken part and 6,000 shoppers regularly browse the virtual stalls.
Catherine said: “I set up the online market in April to help our local independent businesses and the new lockdown has reiterated the importance of having an online presence and shopping local.”
Ursula Sutcliffe, owner of Plant One on Me, said: “I’ve been on there nearly every week since April and it’s been a lifeline. It’s kept food on the table.”
Ursula, whose plant shop and cafe in the Oastler Shopping Centre is shut due to lockdown, explained why the online Christmas market is so important.
She said: “The market gives us the opportunity to do Christmas a little differently this year. I hope people will come out shopping after December 2, but I fear if we are in Tier 3 again it would be devastating.”
Clare Matthews, owner of Long Dog Craft, said: “I would have gone to real markets during this festive season but they’ve all been cancelled, so this is a real lifeline for me.
“I like the social aspect of the market. It has 6,000 members who we can reach out to with chatty posts. It puts me in touch with my audience.
“I sell hand made jewellery and personalised items like Christmas baubles, but one of my most successful items recently is personalised bottles of hand sanitiser!”
Sobia Bashir of Sobia’s Spice, said: “Launching a business is daunting at the best of times but launching and then having to negotiate the logistics of a pandemic is a whole new ball game. Luckily the Bradford Street Market not only saved my business, it catapulted it into success and gave me the determination I needed to complete a cookbook I’d been writing for years.”
The online market takes place every Thursday via the Bradford Street Market Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/BradfordStreetMarket