Normanton shoppers back scheme to boost high street and market trade

Traders have praised a new initiative to try and entice more shoppers to spend their money in Normanton.

This week the town held its first ever Shopping Week, which will end tomorrow with a street party.

Normanton's first ever Shopping Week, Helen Stephenson of the Market Florist. (w643e326)

Normanton's first ever Shopping Week, Helen Stephenson of the Market Florist. (w643e326)

Under the town council-run scheme independent retailers have given away special offers to promote the town and boost trade.

On Tuesday stalls were set up during a coffee morning in Normanton Baptist Church. And people were encouraged to use Normanton Market, which, according to stall holders, was a success.

The Stephenson family has run The Market Florist for 28 years.

Helen Stephenson, who runs the outdoor stall with her dad Graham, said: “Business is picking up and trade is really good at the moment.

“I think Shopping Week has been a great idea. Anything that brings more people in to the town has to be good news.

“When I started 11 years ago it was much busier and although we are not quite back at those times, it is definitely better than it has been.”

Paul and Lesley Withington have been running their P&L Sweets and Cakes business for 27 years, but only set up a stall in Normanton in February - replacing another sweet stall.

Mr Withington said: “It was a gamble, but the people in Normanton are very friendly and we like it here.

“Last year our sales were 70 per cent down but this year we are doing a lot better. There’s a good amount of people who come to the market and they all talk to each other and create a good atmosphere.”

The market’s future was thrown into uncertainty in 2011 when Wakefield Council said it wanted to transfer ownership of the site to save money. But after campaigns it decided to continue running the twice-weekly service.

Nurseryman and florist David Thorpe won District Market Trader of the Year in February.

He said: “Trade is good at this time of the year, but it is during the winter months that we struggle.

“I think we could do with more initiatives, like free car parking, to bring people into the town.”

Kim Hall runs Janis and Kim’s Deli on High Street and will have special offers during tomorrow’s street party.

She said: “I think doing something to bring all the businesses together and promote what we have is a good idea.”

The Midland Hotel, on Market Square, allowed visitors to use its car park for free.

For a video on Shopping Week visit www.wakefieldexpress.co.uk