Small Business Saturday: Independent traders promoted in Sunderland’s festive market

Sunderland traders took part in the first small business Saturday event held at Market Square this weekend (December 3) in the style of a Christmas market. The stalls ranged from fresh produce such as fruit and veg to unique jewellery and festive accessories, all to remind the public of what many local businesses have to offer.

The event was organised by Brian Jackson, Chairman of the Sunderland City Centre Traders Association, who said: “Independence is the backbone of any city centre. If you look at Sunderland, we’ve got 750 businesses within the city, including services, and over 200 of them are independent businesses, so if we don’t support them then we just wouldn’t have a city centre.”

The event had a lot of support from the Federation of Small Businesses, Sunderland BID and the city council, who all backed the markets.

Maureen Priestman, owner of The Jewellery Box, has worked in the Jackie Whites Market in the Bridges since she was 14 years old and told us: “Markets are at my heart; the Jackie Whites Market means everything to me.

“I think the big shops in the town sort of take over a little bit, people don’t know the names of all the smaller family run businesses and I do think this is a good way to get them involved.”

The Jewellery Box market stall, Owner: Maureen Priestman

The Jewellery Box market stall at Saturday’s event

Caroline Pope, business investor for the city council, revealed that this event may not be the last as plans are being made to arrange similar market events every three months for local businesses to take part in.

Julie Elliott, Sunderland Central MP, also attended the event and said: “I love markets so I think bringing the shops that are in the little side streets, or in Jackie Whites Market, out into the open where people can see them is fantastic.”

Brian Jackson will also be leading markets in Seaburn which will take place on December 9, 10 and 11 to continue from the small business Saturday event.

Did you attend the market? If so, tweet us with your thoughts: @Fashion_North

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