Stallholders at Cheltenham’s Christmas market have outlined there is still a demand for shopping on the high street, despite the ease of the internet.
Last week we reported on the dramatic decline of locals rushing to the shops as they preferred to grab a festive bargain online to save the hustle and bustle of the Black Friday sales.
But after the annual market opened its 40 stalls that provide everything from hog roast baps to hand woven baskets, many of the independent producers believed it was important to engage with their customers.
Despite the organisers deciding to walk away from the traditional German themed stalls, the shift has allowed businesses from across the country to descend on Gloucestershire every day throughout the advent period.
Customers will get a chance to have a taste of specially selected food and drink, as well as talking one-to-one with the makers of all the products, something that Sophie Evans, Communications Director at Schokolat, believes is vital.
We sell on Amazon and also on NotOnTheHighStreet.com but this Christmas we’ve decided to go out, up and down the country to actually interact with people.
We want to sell to the public directly and get our brand out there and more well known. I would say we cater for absolutely everyone.
And whether you’re picking up those last minute bits or tracking down the perfect present for that tricky family member to buy for, organisers have made this year’s market bigger and better.
Having introduced a festive themed bar serving mulled wine and speciality ales, the location has increased its size with new traders coming to sell at Cheltenham for the first time.
Following a successful spike in customers last year, Tracey Bayliss from Godminster Vintage was one of many who felt attracted by the friendly atmosphere Cheltenham prides itself on.
It’s great, I think we’re going to be really busy because it’s a fantastic location right in the middle of Cheltenham so it couldn’t be better really.
Mrs Bayliss, who is a creator of the companies award winning cheese and ‘cheeky vodka’ selection, feels people appreciate something that’s been out and searched for, rather than just ordering online.
We’ve all got too much stuff these days and so to give a gift of food or drink is perfect because it’s consumable, someone can enjoy it because it’s really unique and special.
You can visit the Christmas market which is open every day until December 20th in the run-up to Christmas, with sellers welcoming customers from 10am until 6pm and extended hours on Thursday evening to allow extra time for locals to pick out their presents.