Permanent markets operate from established sites, some of which were set up many years ago. The market may consist of both a covered, indoor market and an outdoor area where additional stalls are set up, perhaps only on certain days of the week. Indoor stalls in covered permanent markets are often like mini shops in that you will be able to equip them with display and serving units and lock them up in the evenings, so that you can leave your stock there. These markets commonly also have an area where trestle table-type stalls are available, from which items such as local fruit and vegetables, plants, flowers and so on are sold. Stalls like these have no facilities to leave stock overnight.
Stalls in an outdoor market may be provided by the market operator, or you may have to provide your own. Some markets permit traders to bring their vans onto the market, out of which they can sell their goods. Others do not permit them at all.
Permanent sites at established markets are very popular with market traders and it is unlikely that you will be able to trade from one straight away.
The normal procedure is to attend the market of your choice every day as a ‘casual’. This means getting up very early and standing in a queue with other traders, all hoping that a regular stall will not be taken up and so can be allocated to them. It would not be unusual to spend many weeks as a casual before being allotted a regular stall or pitch.
Some markets sell a wide range of different types of product, for example food, clothing, footwear, pet products, books, items of furniture, plants, toys and so on. These are generally open six days per week and attract both retail and wholesale customers. Other markets specialise in certain products – for example, antiques, bric-a-brac or books – and these may only open on two or three days a week. Still others specialise in a particular range of goods, such as meat or fish, but target wholesale customers rather than members of the public.
Contact the market in which you are interested and obtain a copy of their rules and regulations. These set out any restrictions with which you must comply and will tell you about the market’s opening hours, facilities and rents.