As the reopening of the refurbished Newport Market moves nearer, a number of familiar faces will be returning to trade in the Victorian building.
They will be joining a host of new businesses in the UK’s biggest indoor market regeneration, developed by Loft Co, when it opens in February.
Among the traders returning to the new-look market are Rae Barton Fruit & Veg, and Friendly Neighbourhood Comics.
Richard Soar runs Rae Barton Fruit & Veg, which has been a mainstay in the market for more than 100 years.
During lockdown and while the market has been closed for refurbishment, Richard has continued to operate from his shop in Langstone, via a stall in the Kingsway shopping centre, and at Chepstow’s Sunday market, while also running a popular delivery service.
Now Richard, who has run the business since 2016, is looking forward to going ‘home’:
“We started in the market in 1906 and we like being there. We’re looking forward to getting back in.
“I’ve been impressed with the work that Loft Co, the market developers, have done so far and it’s only going to get better.
“The market has always been like a little family, and I think with all the new and returning businesses it’ll be like that again.
“The food hall will be offering different options for everyone and I think that will really take off. It will encourage more people into the market and that will be good for everyone in there.
“When we re-open, we’ll be looking at our opening hours and hopefully take advantage of the longer hours.”
Richard sees the market refurbishment as a catalyst for the High Street end of the city centre:
“There is a lot of improvement going on – not just the market, but also the Market Arcade, Griffin Street and the outdoor areas for the pubs and cafes.
“It’s all looking nice and improved and people will come back to that end of the city. We’re really looking forward to being back.”
Tim Rees started running Friendly Neighbourhood Comics at the market in November, 2017.
Tim says he is excited to be part of the new development:
“I’ve always been 100% behind the development. The potential is enormous.
“I see what is happening as not just a physical regeneration but the rebirth of the market for the 21st century, and being part of it is an amazing opportunity for me.
“There are lots of reasons why the redeveloped market is right for my business. It will appeal to a family audience, which fits in with what I do.
“I’ll be able to open later in the day, and the opening hours will be attractive to a wider customer base – shoppers, office workers, diners, visitors. It will be a real destination venue.
“Being part of a vibrant community of independent traders is really important to me.”
Tim has had the chance to look at the work completed so far, both inside and outside the Victorian building:
“The riverfront-facing exterior of the building looks absolutely fantastic now the scaffolding has come down. I’ve had a tour inside and I was very impressed with what has been done and what will be done.
“Everybody wants to have nice surroundings to work in and we will certainly have that, and I really want to be part of it.
“I think the market will create a new focal point for business in Newport and bring more trade to the High Street end of the city centre.”
Since the first Covid lockdown and during the ongoing refurbishment of the market, Tim has been running Friendly Neighbourhood Comics from home and online:
“I have a very loyal customer base who have helped me through the last couple of years, and it’s now time to develop the business and Newport Market is the perfect place to do it.”
When completed at the end of 2021, Newport Market will house more than 100 independent businesses, offering a huge choice in food and drink, retail and lifestyle outlets.
The revamped building will also host more than 70 workspaces and offices of varying sizes – from two-person units to others able to house up to 13 people.
Based in the centre of Newport with easy access to rail and bus transport hubs, the new-look market building will be open seven days a week and play host to events catering for between 50 and 250 people, including conferences and weddings.
Loft Co expect an annual footfall in excess of 1.5 million – making the ultra-low carbon footprint market one of the most-visited historic buildings in Newport and the surrounding area.
As well as the retail and lifestyle units, there will be 70 office spaces, along with a gym and rooftop garden.
Reservations for the remaining retail and lifestyle units are available now. To reserve your space, or receive more information about the development in general, please contact [email protected] or browse the brochures available on the Newport Market website – www.newport-market.co.uk