Saturday, 9 June 2012

Saturday lunches and Derby Market forces

At some point, my Saturday lunches have segued from ample to simple.

Pub lunches tended to be some place where they served rare burgers, beer battered onion rings and skinny frites. Nowadays it tends to be where I can get thick-cut cheddar and onion in a cob, maybe a slab of pork pie on the side, bags of Seabrook's split to share round the table.

At home it's become simpler still. That's probably down to having a couple of great shops in Derby that sell moreish lunchy stuff. Maybe freshly sliced mortadella from the Krakus Deli on the Guildhall Market or a wedge of Yorkshire Fettle by Shepherds Purse from Morgan's on the Eagle Market. Either will do me as long as it's served on a Derbyshire Sourdough loaf from Baked, the new bakers on the block (well, on The Strand).

Baked is a great example of a small business giving people what they want - quality produce, freshly made, fairly priced and great customer service. Both Morgans and Krakus are great retailers as well but their market locations appear under threat. It seems traders in general are having a tough time making a Derby pitch profitable. The Eagle Market is the UK's largest indoor market yet whole aisles stand empty. Councillors have called its closure 'inevitable'. Traders say their rents are more expensive per square foot than the stores in the adjacent Westfield shopping centre. Meanwhile, the Guildhall Market is struggling for stallholders too.

I'd love to see the Guildhall Market busier with a real range of stallholders. If the City Council want to encourage economic growth in the Cathedral Quarter, they ought to be attracting start-up businesses into the Guildhall. Future plans for the Eagle Market need to preserve those traders who prefer that location whilst opening up the area to new business ventures. Letting both markets dwindle shouldn't be an option.

What Baked shows is that Derby has an appetite for great food producers and retailers. Here's hoping the council has the stomach for entrepreneurship at its own markets.

By Simon Johnson with No comments

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