Peter keeps the markets shining
When Peter Eaton retired to Suffolk following a career in business, he knew he needed something to occupy his time.
The glittering answer lay 25 miles away from his Hintlesham home in the form of a jewellery stall on Bury St Edmunds Market.
The 57-yearold says the inspiration came from a contact at a costume jewellery company, which sold older samples in boxes for a nominal figure. He admits: “I thought I could be doing with keeping the old grey matter going.”
After seven years on the prestigious market, the stall, Brilliance Jewellery, opposite The Works, on Cornhill, continues to shine selling a treasure trove of gemstones and fashion jewellery including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and brooches - all priced from £1 to £15.
He says: “Every year we’ve been here we’ve increased our trade and got better at what we do. We’ve new stock all the time because we want people to come every week and be excited by what we do. “We have a £1 section all year round and everybody loves that from eight-year-olds to grandmothers.”
During his career, Mr Eaton supplied giftware to major department stores and companies such as John Lewis and Goldman Sachs. Despite having never worked on a market stall before, the business ethos is the same. Mr Eaton says: “Retail is retail. You’ve got to have a good product, display it well and give good service to the people. It’s the same techniques any retailer has to have but on a minor scale. “The beauty of a market stall is that you’re facing your customer and they tell you how good or bad you are. “If you give a good service people love it - that interaction with people is a social event.
”He argues that Bury Market is a shining jewel in the town’s economic crown due to its all encompassing layout. “It’s a street market - it isn’t like some which are in a defined area. The beauty of this is that if you don’t feel like you want to be in the market then you can just walk by. “However, you might be going to W H Smith or Marks and Spencer but because you’re in the street you can see it all the time. So you get a whole cross section of people walking through who wouldn’t normally be market shoppers and they’reenticed in. “It’s the best market in East Anglia.”
As secretary of the Bury branch of the National Market Traders Federation, he voiced his concerns for the future of the enduring town centre lynchpin. He says: “My concern is that the borough council want to pedestrianise the town centre as part of Vision 2031. “If they do that there isn’t a great logic to have the market as it is now so we could be sanitised and it wouldn’t have the appeal that it does now. “We’re keen on the market being part of the retail mix of Bury. We want to make sure the borough council and people don’t take the market for granted.”
This article is courtesy of the Bury Free Press