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Banana King to bow out of Preston Market – but it’s not moving far

Posted on - 8th November, 2017 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, News, Politics, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Redevelopment
The Banana King stall in Preston Indoor Market Pic; 70023venus2009
The Banana King stall in Preston Indoor Market Pic; 70023venus2009

One of Preston’s longest running market traders has chosen not to take a stall in the new market.

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Banana King, run by Norman Smith, is preparing for its final weeks in the current Indoor Market.

Founded by his great grandfather Matthew Wade in 1889 the fruit and veg retailer has been a fixture of the market since it opened in the 1960s.

Norman Young, 49, has decided to call time on being part of the market and has bought a shop in Orchard Street.

He said: “It just wasn’t for us. I looked at the pitches for the new market with the council and it just won’t work for what we need.

“Markets are changing. This one, built in the 60s, was custom built. It’s a different kind of market they are looking to create.

“It’s not been an easy decision. My life, and my family’s life, is in this market. We’ve been here from the start.

“But, I have to say, the Orchard Street shop suits us better.”

The Market canopy lit at night
The Market canopy lit at night, looking from Orchard Street

Mr Young said they will be keeping the name and are working to refit the shop, next door to Greggs (on the left) at the top of Orchard Street – just 50 yards from the market – in time for Christmas.

He said: “This will give us the stability that we need. People forget we’re not just a market trader but also a fruit and veg wholesaler.

“We do more fruit baskets down to London now than we do in Preston itself. The way people buy and how things are progressing it’s a very different world.

“This new shop will give us more flexible opening hours, sell more lines and with the rates compared to the new market proposal we will be better off.”

Read more: Final weeks of trading captured at Preston Markets in pictures

Mr Young said they had received some compensation money from the council for not being able to more into the new market but this ‘wouldn’t scratch the surface of the shop in Orchard Street’.

He said: “Personally I think what they are doing with the new market will have that ‘wow factor’ and it will benefit the city.

“There’s a different kind of stall being looked at. I think it’ll be much more about food you can eat on the day. I wish them all the best for it and if it brings more people into this end of town then it can only be a good thing.”

Banana King employs four people and will continue trading in the current Indoor Market until the new premises are ready.

Leader of Preston City Council councillor Peter Rankin said: “We wish Banana King every success in their new venture and are pleased they have chosen to stay in the city centre. Preston Markets will continue to include a wide range of quality fruit and veg as part of its offer.

“In the coming weeks we will be able to share the details of current and new traders who will be moving into the new Market Hall.”

Read more: New public toilets in Preston Market will be unisex

Preston City Council announced the new market, under the cover of the Outdoor Covered Market, is due to open now in ‘early 2018’.

It had originally been planned to open on Monday 4 December but the opening was put back at the request of the market traders.

There has been no confirmation of how many of the existing market traders will move into the new market or who any of the new stalls will be.

What do you think about Banana King’s decision? Let us know in the comments below

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