Shoppers still coming to Ipswich – now market traders get boost

Catchey's fruit and veg stall was busy on Tuesday. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Catchey's fruit and veg stall was busy on Tuesday. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Day two of reopened shops in Ipswich town centre saw more people back in the town centre – and this time market stall holders were doing brisk business as well.

Today was the first market day since some non-essential shops reopened. This encouraged more stallholders to take their chance – and most were pleased with the response from shoppers.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said there had not been as many shoppers in the town centre as there had been yesterday, but businesses were still very pleased with the turnout and felt there had been a successful relaunch as lockdown restrictions were being eased.

MORE: Business group welcomes the return of shoppers

However he was aware that opening shops was comparatively simple in comparison to the next stage of reopening – pubs, cafes and restaurants – and before they could reopen there needed to be more clarity from the government.

He said: “We have to know whether there will be a two-metre limit or one-metre, and we have to know now so businesses can prepare. It’s no good to make a final decision the day before they’re all due to open.”

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People seemed to enjoy coming back to the town centre and on the first day it seemed that people were spending some time there – even though there were no food and drink places open.

Catchey’s Fruit and Veg stall made its first appearance since March and owner Mick Catchpole said he was encouraged by the response of customers.

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It was a smaller stall than he normally has – but there was queuing at times and customers were pleased to be able to get their greengrocery from the market again.

Mr Catchpole said: “It was okay. It wasn’t amazing, but the people still came to us and we did as well as we hoped. It was a smaller stall than usual and some of my staff are still on furlough, but it was good to be back trading again and it will be good to be back later in the week.”

Other traders who had returned to Princes Street last week said things were busier than they had been then – but it was still some way short of where trading had been before the lockdown. However they all felt it was worth persisting and felt encouraged to see regular shoppers back on the streets of the town centre again after months of lockdown.

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