Local barber Ryan Edwards launched the first Chapel Allerton market in May and has been blown away with the response. The market hosts 37 traders each month - soon to be expanded to 70 - selling everything from food and plants to jewellery and arts and crafts.
Ryan, who works at Butler’s Barbering, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Loads of my clients were coming in and saying they’d started up businesses in lockdown - making honey, doing jewellery and that kind of stuff.
“It made me think, why have we not got a market in Chapel Allerton? I contacted Jane Dowson, the local councillor, and she said it was a great idea. She put me in touch with everyone at the council that I needed to speak to.
“I put a post out on Facebook, and I had about 70 people apply for the first market.”
Chapel Allerton market runs on the first Sunday of every month on Stainbeck Corner, and the market will be extended into a nearby space in September to increase the number of traders.
Ryan is also in the process of setting up an online market, giving local businesses a platform to sell their products.
The 52-year-old said: “They’ve got the skill already, but it’s the retail side of it - how to find customers, how to get their brand out there. That’s the opportunity we give them.
“It’s about people’s passions; these are people who work five days a week and then at weekends they do the market trade. It really is a labour of love.
“I was keen for it not to be just a farmer’s market, or just a makers’ market. I wanted to have everything from food, to plants, to second-hand clothing. Most of the traders are really, really local - Chapel Allerton, Moortown - and I do it because I’d love to see them do well.”
Ryan said the response to the markets had been overwhelming, with some shops now opening on market days to tap into the spike in footfall.
There will be a “real Yorkshire” Christmas market on December 1-3, and Ryan is also putting on outdoor cinema screenings in the playground of Chapel Allerton primary school. He’s currently looking for musicians to get in touch with him via email if they’d like to perform at the September market.
Ryan added: “The general public have been so supportive, the emails I get are amazing. You see the same faces over and over again. It’s nice that people are coming looking for their favourite traders month after month.
“Chapel Allerton really is the true sense of the word community. There’s a great mix and diversity of people. I’m an openly gay man, and I’ve never felt more accepted. No one cares, but everyone cares. They really care about you as a person, but nothing else.
“The support I’ve had with the market shows that. As soon as I said I was going to do it, I instantly got contacted by CA Spaces who offered to help. That’s a great example of what Chapel Allerton is like.”