Season of success leads to expansion for stalls at Plymouth Market

Just months after opening in Plymouth Market, two start-up businesses are already expanding into larger premises following a successful first season.

Bibs and Bows for Little Toes and The Artist’s Palette are relocating to spacious perimeter units along the Market Avenue wall to accommodate their increasing customer numbers.

Meanwhile long-established M’s boutique has moved from an inner-market unit to window-front premises on the Market’s Cornwall Street side as owner Deborah Finch adds new brands to her already popular lines of Spanish and classic children’s clothing.

Cloe Lewis, who opened her handmade children’s clothing stall Bibs and Bows for Little Toes in October, has been overwhelmed by its rapid growth.

“I didn’t expect it to grow as well as it has,” Cloe said. “I just love it and I feel massive pride in what I have achieved. The stall did really well straight away, I couldn’t believe it.”

These are exciting times for Plymouth Market as work continues on a £3.5 million refurbishment to improve the Grade II listed building, which is filled with vibrant and interesting stalls and a rich variety of food and drink venues.

Cloe adds to the market’s diverse mix of local, innovate entrepreneurs who offer something refreshingly different from the High Street, and whose stalls include homeware, car supplies, flowers, clothing, jewellery, food and pet supplies.

In less than two years, Cloe’s business has evolved from making clothes for her own children to selling her designs online and then launching her market stall, with the support of her partner Craig Roberts.

The new unit has a dedicated first-floor workshop where Cloe can make her babies’ and children’s clothing as well as a large ground floor shop for selling her designs, which include girls’ romper suits, bloomers, dresses and bows. The shop also sells gifts and knitted cardigans.

In the near future, Cloe plans to introduce boys’ clothing and in the long-term she would like to expand further, with the possibility of providing soft play and a feeding area.

“You have to start somewhere and work your way up,” Cloe enthuses. “Without the market it would have been hard for me to start up. There were some fantastic events held in the market this Christmas and I would love to see more events here throughout the year to bring people in and to show them what there is here in the market.

“It is exciting to be expanding so quickly.”

Alongside Cloe in a neighbouring unit, The Artist’s Palette has a new, larger home.

Set up by artist Brian Reeves and his wife Katey five months ago, the couple’s art supply store continues to evolve and later this year they hope to introduce art shows into the market, showcasing the work of local students and artists.

Katey said: “We have moved because it gives us more floor space and is more accessible to people with wheelchairs and buggies. People have said it looks lovely.

“Once the work on the market has finished it will be warm and welcoming and this will hopefully help to bring business down to this end of town. A bus route is being brought down here and there is a Post Office here now, then you have the £5 parking at Toys R Us car park so you can shop all day, as well as short-term parking for a £1 here at the Market.

“We need to encourage a new generation of people into the market and the wide variety of things on offer might encourage them to come in. Younger people will come in once the art starts going up. There will be a fresh look and vibe to the market.”

For Deborah Finch of M’s children’s clothing boutique, the move to a bigger shop with window frontage will raise the profile of her business and enable it to expand into new clothing lines.

Having refitted the shop with chandeliers and displays, the newly-painted walls are a perfect backdrop for her range of Spanish and classic children’s clothing and accessories.

Store assistant Jas Sullivan said: “It’s traditional children’s clothing and the new shop is amazing. People are saying ‘have you got this, have you got that?’ Business is booming and the opening week was unreal. It’s bringing something different to this end of town and is catching people’s eye.”

Throughout the refurbishment work businesses are continuing to trade as normal. Improvements will include new signage and branding, additional business space, new roof covering, solar panels, improved ICT and new lighting.