Grimsby’s Freeman Street Market has been nominated for a ‘Great British High Street Award’ – in the category “Rising Star High Street 2019”
The Market has been at the heart of the community for over 140 years. During that time, many hurdles have been faced. Its closeness to the docks and the fishing community means it suffered from the demise of the fishing industry. The rising dominance of supermarkets was another challenge as was, more recently, the demolition of the high-rise flats. Despite this, Freeman Street Market is still thriving with a community built from small businesses, food vendors and loyal customers.
Since 2010, the Market has undergone a drastic transformation – it now has facilities for cooking demonstrations, performing song, dance, and fashion shows, space for art exhibitions, and more. It also hosts community-based stalls offering different types of advice to local people. Adjacent to the Market there is a Digital Business Hub, providing office space for local businesses, as well as conference facilities. The neighbouring carpark is now dedicated to the Market facilities, and provides free parking for 2 hours, as well as a very reasonable all-day rate.
Sean McGarel, Freeman Street Market’s General Manager said “When we first started the redevelopment 10 years ago, retail was pretty decent. But over the years we have evolved more into a community. A community centre almost. We have different dance groups. The NHS come in. We have our local residents’ group. We host a lot of arts, crafts, and drama. It’s not just a transaction, it’s an experience. It feels like a little bit of an oasis.”
A recent development this spring saw the market and many of the traders going digital using ShopAppy.com. This is a click and collect service, where traders are accessed online, with shopping able to be collected from 4-6pm. This opens the Market up to those who work during their opening hours.
Another development opening in the next month also extends the Market opening hours. An ‘International Food Court’ is scheduled to open on 03 August. This will have seating and a wide range of food styles including Greek food, American style chicken, German sausage, and more. This means that 8 eateries will be available 5 days a week, and 11 on the regular market days of Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; each one with a 5 star hygiene rating.
Freeman Street Market is looking not just like a rising star but a shining star in Grimsby’s retail offer.