Errol Sunday Market has a fascinating and unusual history. What was once a military airfield with strategic importance is now the location of Scotland’s largest indoor Sunday Market and Car Boot. The Sunday Market is owned and operated by the Morris Leslie Group, which was originally founded over 40 years ago on a farm in Rait, Perthshire. The Market is sited at RAF Errol Airfield which was originally a WWII airfield opened during 1942 and used to train Polish & Russian pilots, being disused in 1948.
In 1988 Morris Leslie acquired the 50-acre site and started holding regular plant auctions which quickly grew in size and today attract buyers from all over Europe. In 2007 Morris’ son Gregor, expanded the auction business by diversifying into the car auction market, today they auction 20,000 vehicles per annum. In 1992 the Sunday Market and Car Boot sale was introduced to the A Real Scottish Market Success Story airfield and it grew quickly from humble beginnings to what has become Scotland’s Premier Sunday Market venue.
The airfield is the perfect location for a Market as it lies halfway between Perth and Dundee and is ideally located to draw visitors from far and wide, with the added bonus that it has free public parking for 2,000 cars, enabling regular footfall of 10,000, muchto traders’ delight! In April 2012 Morris Leslie employed the services of Keith Payne as Market Manager to develop the retail offer, formulating a business plan to increase the number of permanent Market stalls on the site, which included utilising some of the Morris Leslie stock of portable cabins and storage containers. As part of the ongoing development process, avenues of containers and cabins were provided as secure storage and a dry environment for traders whilst providing a ‘street like’ shopping experience.
Errol Sunday Market recognised the need to provide the buying public with a larger, more comfortable undercover shopping environment to help overcome weather-induced fluctuations in sales for the traders. Hence the Market Hall was created, the first phase opening in 2014. Demand quickly grew, with the second phase being completed in 2015 and it has proved to be a welcome addition, housing 42 individual shop style units. Each unit has access to mains electricity and the whole complex iscentrally heated with a public walkway down the centre of the Market Hall. The whole site benefits from having excellent CCTV coverage and the recent upgrade in secure wi-fi enables traders to use credit card facilities. As part of the continuous upgrading of the Market site, a brand-new toilet and shower block is scheduled for completion by the end of June. Replacing the old toilets, gives better facilities for both traders and customers alike especially those traders who arrive on site on the Saturday to prepare for the Sunday trading.
A quarterly newsletter is produced and distributed to the traders keeping them up to date on any new developments and staff changes. There is a total of 115 regular traders plus upwards of 30 plus casual traders who attend the Market. Errol Market
is a popular magnet which attracts large numbers of car booters, with numbers ranging between 100 to 300 depending on seasonal conditions. To accommodate the high number of traders and car booters, there are extensive all weather undercover
halls available, offering superb trading conditions, which are most welcome from a shoppers’ perspective. Sizes of the halls range from 5,000 sq ft to the likes of the Jim Clark Hall which is an impressive 28,000 sq ft and able to accommodate large numbers of trading units of various shapes and sizes.
The Market is extremely well signposted and is extensively advertised in the local press and on local radio. Keith told MTN “As part of our development programme over the last couple of years, we have introduced a number of specialised events, such as
dog shows, (17 this year alone) being held on Saturdays within the Jim Clark Hall. Two Toy fairs also run alongside the
Sunday Market, held June and September and housed within a self-contained auction hall. An annual Tayside Classic Car Show, which is held in early June is so big that it takes over the whole of the 25-acre events field. To facilitate growth in this sector, Derek Allan has recently joined the team to grow the specialised events programme”. Also joining the team is Diana Nandraziova, who came on board as Sunday Market Liaison Assistant. Diana’s duties will be to liaise with individual traders seeing how Morris Leslie as a Market operating company can best promote their businesses via social media and other mediums. Keith went on to say that having taken over the reins of Errol Market some seven years ago, his mission was to provide a trading environment which is seen to be thriving, vital and self-sustaining and that reflects and enhances not only the local community and economy but fosters an environmentwhere the businesses of market traders, antique/second hand dealers and general traders alike can succeed and grow their business with confidence.
“I was taught many years ago ‘A Market Manager is only as good as his last Market day’ and I have never forgotten that. Here
at Errol it’s like having a large extended family and we have a great group of traders who work extremely hard. “We can attract 200 + individual car boot traders during the better trading months, which only adds to our overall appeal. “Markets in general, are experiencing major changes and we are no different. We continually step back to view what area of our operations can be bettered. Keep raising the bar which, in turn, should result in a tighter, leaner and more financially viable operation. “Having introduced a programme of specialised events as well as developing the new 42 stall indoor Market Hall, these areas of growth have allowed the latest two new members of staff to join the Market Team. I am really looking forward to seeing the results of their efforts as we strive to enhance the unique shopping experience we have here at Scotland’s Premier Sunday Market.”
Errol Market is open every Sunday, trading between 8am and 3pm with the exception of the Christmasand New year weeks.
For more information please see www.errolsundaymarket.co.uk