2019: The year Norwich Market turned a corner
PUBLISHED: 17:04 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 19:52 31 December 2019
Vacuum cleaner parts, a Korean Bao bun and vintage dungarees are not often found side-by-side.
But at Norwich Market, which won best large outdoor market in Britain in the Great British Market Awards 2019, they are just a handful of the eclectic items on offer at nearly 200 stalls.
One of the oldest and largest outdoor markets in the country, stall owners have been setting up shop there for the past 900 years.
And despite the birth of online shopping, a controversial renovation in 2005 and the changing landscape of Norwich's high street, the market has been celebrating a prosperous year.
The Mushy Peas Stall owner Anita Adcock, 59, from Hellesdon, said 2019 had been fantastic because the market had revitalised in the past two years.
She also said part of the success was due to the shift of shopping back to the Gentleman's Walk area.
Ms Adcock said: "When Chapelfield was built that became the centre and we lost some trade. But it's slowing moving back to the market area - particularly with the refurbished Primark. That will certainly help us."
Dietary changes, such as veganism and food intolerances, have been the biggest difference since the stall opened in 1949 but Ms Adcock said adaption was key.
She said: "The market has been a success and continues to be in 2019 because it has evolved with the times."
Richard Anderson inherited Andersons from his father and has run the clothing and workwear stall for 40 years.
He said the past five years had seen an influx of younger customers, crediting the rise in food stalls.
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Mr Anderson said: "It's been really good this year, especially over Christmas. I hope that it continues in 2020."
He added the influence of online shopping had been felt - but it did not stall trade in 2019.
"Not everyone wants to click." he said "People want to have a one-to-one personal service. But I have had to diversify products to compete with the i=nternet and choose items that aren't online."
Mark Wright, 50, has celebrated a decade in business as owner of Taxi Vintage Clothing and said the year had been good.
He described the market as an alfresco social club.
Mr Wright added: "People come here for social interaction and a chat - you can't get that elsewhere. The market is what makes Norwich unique and that will never change."
For Costessey-born Brian Pickering, who works at specialist butchers Pickerings, 2019 was steady.
The 77-year-old said: "There has not been an increase but not a drop either. The market is the best in the country in my opinion and it will continue to draw people in."
Mr Pickering has worked as a butcher for 62 years and said specialist produce - the stall sells 26 varieties of sausage - meant the core customer base had not wavered over the years.
Fishmonger David Neech, 47, said the year was also steady for City Fish but Christmas had been particularly popular.
Three years ago, Hugo Malik opened Spanish deli Churros for the people on the market because it was expanding.
The 52-year-old said: "Chain businesses are struggling now as people are coming back to independent shops. The only thing that affects us is the weather and, aside from a rainy May and October, business has been good."
Pond's Flowers owner Alexander Pond, 55, summed up the year and said: "It's been brilliant and it just gets better. I think 2020 will be beautiful. Just right."
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