Broadway Market has breathed new life into an East End area and established itself as a mecca for fans of fine food, craft and fashion. Every Saturday it has 170 stalls filling the street.
It's hard to imagine a better example of community enterprise anywhere. And the market is continuing to grow and flourish, creating profits of £40,000 for local good causes over the past three years.
Broadway Market is actually the name of the street in Hackney which stretches from London Fields to Regent's Canal. It became a vibrant, bustling hub - thanks to its location next to London Fields, the last grazing for animals before their drovers herded them through London to Smithfield wholesale meat market in the City of London.
The market goes back 130 years and, in its heyday, it was hugely successful. But the market and the area took a downward slide and by the turn of this century it was down to just one fruit and veg man.
In the 1970s and 1980s there was a lot of anti-social behaviour, and some even considered Broadway Market a no-go area. Today it is a trendy area with many homes owned by young professionals. There is a strong artists' community and traditional East Enders can now find themselves priced out of the housing market.
Alistair Maddox, who runs the market for Broadway Market Traders and Residents Association Community Interest Company (CIC), said the residents got together and decided they wanted their market back, so they approached the council with a view to reviving it.
"Hackney Borough Council tried to get the market started a couple of times without success. The council turned to the community to see if they could make a go of it. The CIC was formed and local people spread the word about the market plans, approaching traders on other London markets to see if they were interested in standing Broadway."
The market was officially launched in 2004 with 40 stalls and it soon became clear it was a goer. Richard Vines, who runs Wild Beef, selling meat from his cattle that graze on Dartmoor, heard about the market from Louise Brewood, who used to run a florists shop on Broadway.
"Although I farm on Dartmoor, I know London well, and I liked the idea of a proper community-run food market serving local people as I have a problem with what I call commodified meat that the supermarkets sell."
Richard recalls that not all the shopkeepers were behind the market initiative. Some were afraid it would affect their business. But the opposite has been the case.
The CIC had a clear vision for their market that is best summed up in their banner statement - Quality, Speciality, Variety.
The food offering is the core of the market. There is hot food from all over the world, gourmet cold food including artisan bread, olives, organic meat, wet fish and much more. There are hand made crafts and clothes, as well as fashion and flowers. And the vast majority of the stallholders and shoppers are local.
They include people like Paul Goby who sells vintage fashion and lives just round the corner. "I have stood many London markets and I was not doing very well on Portobello Road when a customer said I should give Broadway a try," he said.
That was ten years ago. Paul took just £30 on his first day. But things soon improved and now he is more than happy to stand such a busy market on his doorstep. Over the past 11 years, new shops, cafes and eating places have opened their doors and now Broadway Market is the place to be on a Saturday.
But, says Alistair, it hasn't lost its community roots and ethos. "This market is all about the community. The CIC run it and the profits go back into the local community. We support local charities and good causes including the local hospice."
Volunteers run the CIC's own stall and community projects are encouraged to stand the market. Among the beneficiaries is the local primary school, as Alistair explains:
"When Ofsted put the school in special measures, the community decided they wanted to help. We now have 45 stalls on the playground every Saturday taken by start-up food businesses and local people creating artwork and crafts who want to see if they can make a go of their small businesses. It is helping local people start businesses and the additional profits have gone to the school to improve facilities."
The school is now performing well and numerous small businesses have taken the opportunity to get into the marketplace. They include Made of Dough, the hot pizza business run by old school friends Ed Sandeman and Henry Amodio.
Ed's family are Italian and Henry's family roots go back to Spain. Ed said: "We love food - it is our heritage. We used to argue about which food was best - Italian and Spanish."
When they were on holiday in Naples they came to a compromise and decided to launch a business selling Italian pizzas made with fine Spanish ingredients. Every Saturday they can be found in the schoolyard market, selling pizzas cooked in a wood oven installed in a Land Rover which they use to get to market.
(This article has been lifted with permission from the June 2015 edition of Market Times, the bi-monthly magazine of the NMTF)
Don't forget to keep in touch, we really appreciate your feedback and comments.
If you like what we are doing, please share 'Mission For Markets' with your friends.
Mission For Markets is a campaign run jointly by NABMA and NMTF