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Popular Beeston market welcomes back craft traders

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A popular market in Beeston has welcomed back its craft vendors for the first time since Covid. The Garage on High Street in Chilwell features over 40 different vendors offering food, coffee, local beers and cheeses.

The market runs every weekend in Barton’s garage which used to be the headquarters for the transport company. The garage still houses some of the company’s old buses which were often spotted around the city. The company ran local bus services and tours to seaside destinations even offering tours out to Europe before it closed in 1989.

Brothers, Richard, James and Tom Barton run the market and events at the location including street food nights, Bucharest-style ruin bars and pop-up cinemas. Their company, Barton Bros Ltd is a separate company from Barton’s PLC and they are also responsible for organising the weekly markets.

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The Garage in Chilwell features over 40 different traders
The Garage in Chilwell features over 40 different traders

Richard said: “The centenary celebration was one of the first to take place here which started a chain reaction of further events. I was working as a volunteer at that point so we started to do pop-up markets, comedy, music nights and trying lots of things. We wanted to make use of the space and bring attention to the site.”

When it comes to selecting traders, the market offers something for everyone from foodies, to fashionistas to art enthusiasts. Fiona Barton oversees the vendors and has a strong sense of what works.

“I do look to see if I would like what the vendors sell. When people apply, I have a look at what they sell and what they are hoping to offer. The important thing is that we all get on and that people understand this is a leaky old garage so they don’t get a shock. We try to make it fresh by getting new traders in but we have some who have traded with us over the years,” she said.

Some of Beeston’s best-known businesses have started out at the market with pop-up stalls. Little Plant Guys were one such business that started as a pop-up before moving into their store on High Road.

Matt Wright is an artisan chocolatier who says it’s the quality, not the quantity of traders that makes the Garage so successful. Matt and his wife run, Cathy’s Chocolates and Cakes which offers a range of chocolates.



Matt Wright of Cathy's Chocolates has been trading at The Garage for two years
Matt Wright of Cathy’s Chocolates has been trading at The Garage for two years

He said: “We’ve been trading here for two years. We come once a month to support the local community and the venue. There are so many knowledgeable craft traders here. This is a venue worth visiting because you get that friendly atmosphere, tea and crafts.”

James said: “We started with a farmer’s market which was the only legal thing we could do but then it exploded in popularity. We were worried it was going to be small but it was so well attended that the vendors sold out.”

Fiona added: “We had rules to follow as we had to count how many came in and out. We ran around all day with walkie-talkies monitoring the queues so there were a lot of measures put in place to keep people comfortable. It has settled down to a nice level on Sundays now where we don’t have to count or have one-way systems.”

Providing a location for people to safely shop or go to during Covid is one of the strongest memories that the team shares about the market.

Richard said: “We were approached by Christ Church to do a carols evening as a collaborative event. It was during a period when people were struggling mentally. The event was well attended by people of all different faiths who sat in a room together singing. It was quite emotional to see everyone in a room together enjoying themselves.”

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He added: “People told us that they hadn’t been out in two years and this was their first time going out. We heard that a lot in terms of mental health and the market. It was really important that we stayed open.”

“It certainly took its toll on us but we became experts in legislation as we tried to work out how we can legally operate. We have forty traders here so it’s important for us to have everything work because they have mortgages to pay. We did what we could to stay open even if it was close to the line on some stuff. We knew we were doing the right thing,” James highlighted.

The brother confirmed that the building is set to undergo a transformation. The current garage will be replaced by another Barton’s building which is currently located on Huntingdon Street. There are strong signs that the events and market will be able to carry on too.

James said: “The whole site will eventually be re-developed. Where the garage is will go in the next couple of years to be replaced with flats or apartments. We’ve spent time chatting to the developers who see a real benefit to having an event venue on this site doing exactly what we are doing now. It has a tangible effect on house prices and the developers have seen the positive effect this has on the community and the integral role it plays.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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