8:27 April 1, 2022
Despite the rising cost of living, merchants are still committed to serving markets throughout the county.
Thursday is market day in Fakenham, with traders from all over Norfolk visiting the town to sell produce.
But as the price of life continues to rise, their businesses are hit by large-scale increases in every area.
On March 31, the number of shopkeepers in Fakenham appears to have decreased slightly.
It could have been caused by the cold snap in the morning or maybe traders and punters are feeling the pressure.
We spoke to four traders to see how the price hike affects them.
scott looking is the manager of Meadow Market, a supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The 46-year-old said he is seeing prices rise in every part of his business.
“We have noticed, as everyone has, a general increase in all products, whether fresh or imported, also the increase in fuel is really being felt across the board,” he said.
“Our contract price hasn’t gone up in the last five years, but it has doubled in the last three months.
“Everything is increasing. Fertilizer for vegetables is also through the roof.
“But as a result we haven’t increased prices – our prices have always fluctuated on a weekly basis due to availability, especially since Brexit and the pandemic.
“Standard price changes (in both directions) are always due to product seasons. We’ve taken a lot of price increases on the chin and only pass on an increase if absolutely necessary.”
“We still keep busy and go to the three markets that we have always attended. One thing about the pandemic is that people want to shop local and they like to shop outside, and most of them still continue to visit us.”
Next to Meadow Market is simon robsonco-owner of Moat Road Nursery.
The 51-year-old travels to two markets a week, as well as running a garden center.
He said the biggest financial struggle for him is the rising cost of utilities as he uses equipment to help his inventory: “Prices have gone up quite a bit with our utilities, with the plants, they have to have electric lamps to keep them . alive.
“The price of everyone is going up, throughout the region. No matter what business you have, costs go up.
“At the moment, it’s been reasonably busy, but it’s still early in the year. When the weather improves, it will hopefully entice people to spend a bit.
“I visit two markets every week, and the cost of fuel also goes up. It’s an added expense, but we’re still pretty busy with them.”
Across from Moat Road Nursery, you’ll find County Ventures, run by tony leach.
He visits eight markets a week, so it’s no surprise he’s feeling the pinch at the pump.
“The main increase I am seeing in my cost is the price of filling the car with diesel. That’s almost £100 a week more than I was spending a few months ago,” she said.
“I am also seeing an increase in the stocks that I buy. When I go to my suppliers, the stuff from England isn’t too bad, but when I buy imported stuff, I see huge increases.
“The cost of millet, the things you feed to birds like parakeets, I get from China when I can. It used to cost me 35 pounds, now it costs me 70 pounds.
“I visit eight markets a week and despite the cost of fuel I still go to all of them because they are still making money so I can’t stop going. I just hope I can put up with it until prices start to come down.
“Even if what I make when I go to a market is five pounds, it’s still a five-pound profit.”
sasha bealesThe owner of Drip Drop Bake Stop is another who spends the whole week touring Norfolk with her vans.
Despite the increases, it keeps the cost out of the reach of its customers.
“Fuel is having the biggest impact on us,” he said.
“I have to constantly refuel and it’s costing me a fortune. It’s probably costing me £300 more a month.”
“I have a full staff, so I have to be in all eight markets every week, even when I’m losing. I keep the staff here because when the days get better in the summer I will need them.
“Despite these increases, I don’t want to raise the price for the customer at the moment.”