Dumfries shoppers urged to offer support to make new market happen

Campaign organisers Kirsten Rowe and Leah Halliday are urging shoppers to support new Makers Market initiative

Shoppers in Dumfries are being urged to support a campaign to stage regular Makers Markets in the High Street to help regenerate the town centre.

The newly-founded Dumfries Makers Market group have applied for a licence to operate a market on a monthly basis. And they are asking the public to support them by letting Dumfries and Galloway’s licensing board know the depth of public support behind the initiative.

The team behind the Dumfries Makers Market group is headed by businesswomen Kirsten Rowe and Leah Halliday who are pleased with the ground swell of support in the town.

Ms Rowe runs Mala Interiors in Dumfries, which restores retro and contemporary furniture while Ms Halliday owns the So Sew Pretty shop, selling hand made gifts.

The process to stage a market began with a public meeting to gauge support for boosting the High Street. They were overwhelmed by the interest in the meeting which which has now been channelled towards launching a market.

Ms Rowe said: “We have finally gathered all the surveys which were launched on that night in The Stove and there were more than 1,100 replies which is great.

“There are some fantastic ideas which have been sent to us and we will be going public on that soon.

“However, in the meantime, we have put in a licence application to the council and also for a road occupation permit. “There are also notices up on the High Street similar to planning applications, but we want people to back us and send in positive messages to the licensing board.

“We are encouraging that on our Facebook page for the market and we’ve already received a lot of positive posts on that.”

The idea for a market was born from a social media rant by Ms Rowe when she tried to rent a High Street shop only to be thwarted by huge prices and lengthy contracts.

She blasted absentee landlords for scarring the town centre with empty, shabby shop fronts which were overpriced and forcing business out the town.

Ms Rowe added: “There is a lot of passion for the town centre and both Leah and myself are spending a lot of time on the project.

“So we would like more people to join up.

“We are going to publish our survey results which had more than 80 per cent responses saying they were very interested, or extremely interested in our idea.

“They are up for a weekly, or monthly market but we can only run a monthly one at this stage. But that might change further down the line.

“I was at the Farmers Market at Dumfries Railway Station last Sunday and there was a huge turnout which proves if you put something on then people will come.”

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