Stall of the Week: Third generation stall holders hails market’s ‘great deals and friendly service’
- Credit: Archant
It is a livelihood which runs in Simon Walker's blood as he is the third generation in his family to run a market stall.
And the Norwich market stallholder is urging all to come and see what the historic shopping destination has to offer.
Mr Walker, who runs Walker's Toys, has traded on markets around the county - from Great Yarmouth, to Scratby and now Norwich.
But before that, he watched his parents and grandparents ply their trade selling household goods.
'We're the third generation, my brother had a stall on here too,' Mr Walker, 47, said.
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'It's not like the good old days where we'd stand on a soapbox.
'But when customers come here they should come for the great deals and the friendly service.'
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Mr Walker said his parents were known for selling the Rubix Cube in Norwich when the craze swept the nation, and he had moved into selling toys after things such as small radios lost their popularity.
He came onto Norwich market as it was closer to home - he lives in the city with his family - and for a change in lifestyle.
'It was time to give up the van, which sometimes we would sleep in as you used to start at 6am.
'In Yarmouth, I remember people sleeping on the beach if guesthouses were full and customers would be queuing at 4am.'
Now, with a wife and daughter, Mr Walker sticks to a stall closer to home.
And although he has set a rule that his six-year-old daughter Ella-Violet can't take her pick of the stock, there are some benefits to your father owning a toy stall.
'She does get to have something when I go to London to buy my own stock,' he said.
He said Norwich market, which is more than 900 years old, had changed a lot over the 14 years he had been there, and he was excited to see a new team managing affairs from City Hall.
'It's great what the team have been doing,' he said. 'They've come in with fresh ideas that are working, more stalls have been opening and I've seen a change with the new management.
'There's more enthusiasm now.'
Mr Walker said what he particularly enjoyed about being a market trader was the interaction.
'You do get to know people by their names and you don't necessarily get that in a shop,' he said.
Mr Walker's stall is a treasure trove for any child looking for an Easter treat.
He said particularly popular over Christmas had been a game called Speak Out, which he sells for £7.99, where players wear a mouthpiece while saying different phrases.
'It really went viral - on December 1 no one knew what it was,' he said.
'But everyone was playing it by Boxing Day.'
Also a hit was the game Pie Face, which ends up with an unlucky player being hit in the face with cream, which is sold for £9.99.
'It can be a bit messy,' Mr Walker warned.
'My daughter loves it - but my wife hates it. You will end up with a face full of cream.'
Finally, tapping into the emoji craze, Mr Walker showed off a pair of monkey emoji slippers.
'We've got all sorts - the geek, the happy face, all the emojis.
'They're really big at the moment,' he added.
The slippers sold for £5.99.