Use market or lose it

WE, at Durrington Country Market were sad to read our colleagues at West Worthing, pictured above, were closing their market.

We, like them, are only trading for one morning a week.

We can imagine their customers will be disappointed as Country Markets are a very special shopping venue where customers can order in advance and are able to have items cooked and adapted, so individual tastes and needs are catered for.

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The saying small is beautiful may be true, but unfortunately small, in the world of commerce, is not often viable.

Premises have to be rented, goods paid for and the books have to balance.

Although the vegetables, fruit and flowers we sell are all home grown, and we do, whenever possible, use locally produced foods, the cooks do have to buy some of their basic ingredients.

Yet we try to keep our prices as low as possible, because we know that many of our customers are elderly.

The financial rewards to our cooks are not very large, but when a customer says, "That cake I had last week was lovely", it all seems worth the time and effort.

When I was chairman of West Sussex Markets a few years ago (when we were under the WI umbrella) we had more than 20 markets throughout the county.

Now we have less than half that number.

The convenience of supermarket shopping and the change in shopping patterns, brought about by working women, has reduced the numbers of customers for all small retailers.

What a pity there were so few people in the Heene area who were willing to support West Worthing Market and keep it alive.

In Durrington we have been trading for over 30 years in St Symphorian's Church hall from 10am 11am on Thursday mornings and we hope to keep going a lot longer.

Hopefully, some of the disappointed customers from West Worthing will find their way to us but we should also like to see more people from all over Worthing. We are lively, friendly and welcoming.

Customers can meet their friends and stay after shopping and drink coffee. Each week we have a good range of cakes and savouries.

During the year we have a range of special days like apple, or strawberry day when we try to give customers an opportunity to taste something different.

We always have a good range of jams, marmalade and chutney but on March 12 we shall be having Marmalade Day when there will be a special tasting table.

At this time when all businesses are being hit by the recession please do support your local traders, if you don't, they won't be there tomorrow!.

Sheila O'Neill

Longlands Spinney

Broadwater

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