Market traders in Mansfield hope shoppers will return amid fears over business

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Market stall traders in Mansfield town centre are hoping to see a resurgence in business after the lifting of covid rules, but some fear the trade will never return to boom times.

A meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee for Mansfield District Council found that stall occupancy rates in Mansfield had fallen by 33% since 2019/20.

While it is up 8% from last year this can likely be chalked down to the national lockdown that took up huge parts of 2020.

A lot of this points towards the coronavirus pandemic having a huge impact on market stalls in the town. Shifting shopping patterns are also having a big effect.

Workers have said that they have noticed a change since the lockdown, but have been reluctant to shift all of the blame onto the global pandemic.

Alex Yorke, 65, who has had his stall for 28 years, said: “I think footfall is definitely down and it hasn’t come back since the pandemic.

“That’s not just in Mansfield, it’s everywhere.

“I sell a lot of stocking fillers but it’s not feeling very Christmassy at the moment.

“But it was tough last year at Christmas as well.

“We reopened after the first pandemic on December 4, had three weeks and then we had to close again until April.

“When I came back in July it was decent – it was as if people had remembered that they could come and shop again.

I’m not sure how much the pandemic has affected this business but it hasn’t really felt back to normal yet.

“I tried to work online but it’s not the same – I sold a bit but I hate it.

The income for markets has also fallen by 53% when compared to levels from a couple of years ago.

During the 2019/20 period, Mansfield markets took in over £40,000, more than double what has been made so far in the 2021/22 time-frame.

(Image: NottinghamshireLive/ Jack Thurlow)

Other stall-runners have suggested that their business has been in a decline for many years anyway, and that the pandemic has had less of an impact than some may think.

Dean Rozzoni, 49, who has worked on his stall for over 30 years, said: “Business is alright, I have always thought that you get out what you put in in this business; like with every job.

“It’s work where you have to always be thinking on your feet, you want to make things different, catch people’s eye and put things in a different place.

“It’s hard the way things are nowadays – it’s a dying trade, they’ve been dying for years and I don’t think that it will ever get back to the level that it was years ago.

“I’ve been here doing this since about 1988 or 89.

“But you know they will always be around but I don’t know if they will ever bounce back like they did.

“I personally don’t think that the pandemic has really hurt the market.

“It’s hard to start a business these days, any business you will find it difficult.”

(Image: NottinghamshireLive/ Jack Thurlow)

Mansfield District Council has confirmed that rules for market stalls have returned to their pre-pandemic status and that normal allocation rules have resumed.

Another man who runs a stall in the town centre, who wishes to remain unnamed, does not believe that Covid has changed much for his business.

He said: “Not for me it hasn’t.

“I have not noticed a change since we reopened at all.”

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