Errol Sunday Market.
A touch of Vintage in a modern environment.
Errol Sunday Market is considered to be ‘Scotland’s biggest Sunday Market and Car Boot Sale.’ It has so much more to offer and last year they completed the second phase of their indoor market. Kirsty Flatt went to look at their improvements. Fortunately my visit to Errol this time was a dry one and I was able to enjoy the Vintage/Classic Car Auction which took place on the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend. These take place quarterly, in addition to the twice weekly car auctions that are held on site. This was very well attended and traders had the option to open for business. The majority took the decision to, which gave me an opportunity to meet some of those in the new section of the indoor market. Phase two opened in October last year and is already running at full occupancy with a waiting list for traders. This is all credit to the hard work that Keith Payne, the Market Manager, and the team have put in.
There is a definite vintage feel to this area of the market as well as being a bit of a mecca for locally crafted goods. It is heated throughout and has the advantage of having Wi-Fi installed, which means that traders can still keep an eye on their online businesses and also take card payments. Lyn Winters is one of the traders in the market hall and she has just taken on the position of Keith’s assistant. At the time of my visit, she was putting together their Christmas plan and ideas include extended opening hours/ evening shopping event and having a Santa’s Grotto in conjunction with a local charity. As she explained, ‘We want it to be a family destination.’ They have a number of events taking place in the events area of the market for various groups and organisations, which is a great opportunity for people that might otherwise not visit the market, to see what Errol has to offer as well as more sales opportunities for traders. The car boot and permanent outside trades are an important part of what Errol is about and the team are keen to ensure that they don’t feel otherwise, however, comments from the general public to the indoor traders often take the form of ‘we didn’t realise this was here.’ Speaking to Morris Leslie, the owner of the business, he is keen to embrace new ideas but wants to create a feel of an overall shopping experience that everyone can benefit from, not segregated areas. Several of the indoor traders are former carbooters, some of which then moved to one of the outdoor ‘street’ areas where there are avenues of storage units which some have converted into ‘shops’ and others use for storage and trade off tables from outside.
Janet Penman of Trinkets and Treasures is one such trader. She was one of the first to take on one of the new units, having previously traded in one of the outdoor hangers for a couple of years. Her china and glasswear is displayed on tartan cloth to help ‘bring out their detail’. She is fond of the market traders and wants to make sure everyone knows about the range of goods on offer. One of her specialist items is antique table linen and she has even had prop buyers purchasing from her for television and film sets. Margaret Adam made wedding stationery from home, selling at craft fairs, before coming to Errol. She made a tartan corsage for a wedding which lead to three additional orders that day. This has led to tartan flowers that florists can incorporate into posies and a stunning range of handmade tartan handbags. She has an online business and having an outlet at Errol has helped to increase sales as people can come and see the items, plus it makes an additional collection point. Talent’s run in the family and daughter Rachel has sold some of her artwork through her Mum’s shop. Margaret told MTN, ‘I think the market is excellent. Everyone is very friendly and I hope we encourage more crafters to join us.’ Destined for Vintage is the business of Gail Adams. She has been trading since June, having previously sold at vintage fairs. She has a love for all things vintage and this is reflected in her period attire. Her niche products are Babycham glass candles and tea cup candles. She is still involved in vintage fairs and would like to introduce one to Errol.
Jocelyn of Vintage Hen started trading a month after Gail and they complement each other well selling collectables, china and jewellery. She has one of the smaller units and is hoping for something bigger. Next door to her is Lyn Winter’s unit, which is an Aladdin’s Cave of pre-loved items, as I can vouch for judging by the bags I took home with me! She takes orders for hand painted furniture and upholstering and will try and source requested items for customers. Like several of the units, her stock is beautifully presented and encourages you to come in and browse. When you walk into Victorian Lush, it’s like stepping back in time into a Victorian drawing room. Gill Owen has put a lot of thought into how she presents her hand-painted decoupage furniture and antiquities. She started at craft fairs selling body butters and up-cycled furniture and is pleased with the interest she has had in the few months that she has been at Errol. Shopping can be a stressful experience for some and so a moment of calm can be sought in Taweldra, which is Welsh for calmness and serenity.
There is definitely a feeling of calm when you walk in and the scent from incense sticks is very welcoming. This is the place for healing stones and all things holistic. The proprietor Beverly told me, ‘I decided to follow my dream and everyone has been very supportive. I love it here and have met some wonderful people. I even have a regular customer from Aberdeen. This is my little escape to calmness.’
Helping the body as well as the mind is what the Gluten Free Farmhouse can help with. Mandy Hill is a coeliac herself and was so disgusted by the ready-made food available that she decided to cook her own. She came inside when phase two first opened, having previously traded outside. She makes a range of gluten free cakes, some of which are dairy free and vegan, as well as savoury items and prepared meals and desserts. She believes she is the only maker of gluten free mince bridies (a type of pasty). She also stocks a range of gluten free provisions along with her homemade jams and chutneys. Where possible, everything is locally sourced and much is home grown on the farm. Her regulars will often pre-order and as much of the food can be frozen, some will order for the month. Visually, you would not know the cakes were gluten free and I tried a vegan Moroccan Chickpea pasty, which was delicious. Jean of Jean’s Crafts was one of the first to take a unit and has already expanded. She is a card crafter and knitter and can often be seen knitting one of her Arran or Icelandic jumpers and cardigans. She had a really good winter season, barely being able to keep up with demand and has customers from as far afield as Harrogate and America! She speaks very highly of the support that Keith has given her and is also pleased that Lyn is on board to help him.
Margaret McLean and her daughter Laura are also home crafters that have been in the indoor market since the second half opened. Laura crochets, her mother sews and her father Robert is a wood turner. Between them, they share the unit, named Glenisla Cottage Crafts which is truly a family business. Another family business is Lizzy’s Doll’s House Emporium. Her and her husband started selling bric a brac outside and she decided to sell her grandchildren’s doll’s houses when she down-sized and the business was born. Her husband is still an outdoor trader and she is keen for ‘him to stay there and not take over my shop!’ She jokes. Lizzy now takes doll’s houses in for repair as well as selling, furniture selling, furniture and accessories for new and pre-loved homes, for both children and the serious collector. Moving down into the original indoor market section and trading inside on their first week is Children’s Boutique. Christina started outdoors a few weeks prior to taking over the unit. She hand makes patchwork children’s quilts, cushions and advent calendars in some popular character fabrics, whilst her husband makes wooden beds, toy boxes and seat boxes.
Stephen of Twigzels knows all about wood. He has been at the market for over four years, having previously traded from one of the hangers. A carpenter and joiner by trade, he reclaims wood, making giant pencils and tables made from pallets.
Anne of Purple Haze is one of the original indoor traders who also started off in one of the hangers. She sells handmade soaps and makes her own jewellery and a few stitched items. She speaks very highly of Keith saying that he works tirelessly to improve the market. Dorothy had two units outside before taking an indoor shop. She sells costume jewellery, watches, handbags and retro phones as well as a few collectibles. Her stall is colourful, inviting and well-presented and she is building up a clientele. Lorraine of Tartan Buttons is friends with Margaret Adam and started making tartan button holes because a friend was allergic to flowers.
As well as button holes, she makes jewellery from handmade tartan beads and her tartan range also includes clocks and hipflasks. She has been at the market for a year and has picked up new customers and potential customers are always taking her card away for future reference. Heading outside I was drawn to Tayside Planters’ Flowerpot Men. Nick sells during the summer months and makes the planters in his shed at home. He got the idea from a former trader who retired whilst Nick was selling fruit and vegetables at the market and thought ‘I can do that!’ Check out the Errol Sunday Market website for a fun video! On the Gardening theme, I caught up with Westside Plants who have moved to the outside entrance of phase two and have had a bumper year as a result.
There wasn’t time to talk to everyone down the market ‘street’ but because of their particularly good flash, I stopped to talk to Jackie and Angus Nicolls who sell home furnishings. They have had five shops during their career and also had 30 years at Kinross market and now just trade at Errol. Of course, no visit to Errol Sunday Market would be complete without stopping at Doug’s bakery. His steak pies are fantastic and his cinnamon doughnuts to die for – so much better than those dry, overpriced, badly spelled, American things!
What struck me about Errol again was the obvious enthusiasm and passion for their market, from the management, to the traders. The company certainly don’t rest on their laurels and are always adding to the shopper experience. Keith has introduced four new pop-up units, ideal for a new trader with limited stock to trial market selling. In October, 30,000 square feet from the Jim Clark Hall to Hall two, an area where on a Sunday, some of the catering outlets and the market butcher are based, will be covered. This will also be used for the car auctions as well as providing additional trading areas as during the winter months of inclement weather, the car boot sale and outdoor traders move to the halls.
Errol Sunday Market trades 50 weeks of the year and Keith is always keen to hear from new traders.
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