First of Wick's town centre markets exceeded expectations, say organisers
ORGANISERS of Wick's first indoor market say it exceeded expectations, with the venue at the council building in Market Square remaining busy throughout the day.
Led by the community council, the initiative is part of the town centre regeneration programme and will see trial markets being run in the foyer of Caithness House each Saturday throughout September.
Feedback from the events will be put towards a feasibility study into the possible community use of the former Original Factory Shop in the town centre.
"It exceeded our expectations," community council representative Allan Farquhar said after the first market at the weekend. "The place was crammed full with folk from 10am to 3pm."
Thanking everyone who turned up, Mr Farquhar said: "Overall we had good feedback – all thought it was a good idea. It was not just the traders who benefited – there was the community aspect as well, with the town centre busy all day.
"It is onwards and upwards for the next few weeks. Hopefully this will be a long-term thing for the benefit of the town."
Some members of the public were expecting something along the lines of a farmers' market, with more in the way of food stalls. Mr Farquhar acknowledged that at this first event they had only one trader with local produce – Trisha Sutherland of Caithness Summer Fruits – who sold out of all baking by around midday. The fruit for sale also went quickly.
"Obviously there is a great demand for food," Mr Farquhar said.
It is onwards and upwards for the next few weeks. Hopefully this will be a long-term thing.
He pointed out that the organisers had been inundated with applications from prospective stallholders keen to be involved in the venture, and each Saturday they would have different traders taking part.
The community council hopes to expand on the trial and would be interested in seeing if Highland Council would consider renting the foyer out prior to Christmas to tie in with the lighting festivities.
All feedback will go towards the feasibility study, which is out to tender after being funded by the Caithness Beatrice Community Fund.
Those who attended the first trial market can provide feedback through the Wick Community Council Facebook page, with plans for customer experience forms to be available at the markets scheduled for the next three Saturdays in September. Again these will run from 10am-3pm.
Mr Farquhar added that the organisers were still looking at issues of people parking in the Market Square.