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    New shop opening

    Thursday, 1 October 2015  |  Joanna

    "Do you have a shop?"

    If I had £1 for every time I was asked that over the ten years I've been working as a market trader I'd have been able to give up the markets for good.

    The answer has always been "No" - until now. This autumn we are opening our first shop - Selby's first fair trade shop. Originally we were looking for a pop up shop in Selby just till Christmas - it was a bit too daunting to imagine committing to a 5 year lease and all the other responsibilities that come with a bricks and mortar shop. Although a part of me was thinking about moving all my stock onto newly constructed shelving units and dreading having to move it all out again after just 6 weeks. With most of the stock sold, naturally, but even so . . .  Luckily the lovely people at the Abbots Staith Heritage Trust were looking for someone to rent their prime retail unit in the centre of Selby and were able to be amazingly flexible. 

    Thanks to them, I've been able to move bits and pieces of stock into the shop gradually, with their volunteers selling them during opening hours. This week I picked up my key - a key to my very own shop! - and had my first shift as a volunteer, working in the fantastic surroundings of the mediaeval warehouse.

    Opening hours at the moment are Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm but the plan is to open full time Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm from Friday 23 October (just in time for half term) 

    Even then, the project won't be completed as I hope to have the shop fully stocked and open from Wednesday 18 November. After which we'll have a party. The launch party with Fairtrade wine, beer and nibbles will be Thursday 19 November 2015 4-8pm with the grand opening at 5pm. 

    There's a lot to do before then, and today I'm supervising the construction of my shop window and counter by one of the amazing volunteers who work at the Staith complex. 

    It's an odd feeling, after such a long time "on the road" working markets across the North and Midlands, to have a key to my own place and to be building semi-permanent structures for displaying my goods. I'm sure I'll enjoy having a place to call my own. And I'll be thinking of my colleagues on Manchester's Christmas market at 7pm on a wet Wednesday in early December without any envy.

    Joanna will be at Selby Library from 10am-12 noon this Saturday 3 October to help launch the latest book from local author Roland Chilvers - all proceeds from sales of the book go directly into the campaign to save the Abbots Staith.