Community table top sale proving popular
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A BI-monthly community table top and craft sale is proving hugely popular with both stallholders and shoppers.
In the two years since Peter Blackmore and Mark Richmond took over the reins, the event, held at the Parish Hall, in Newgate, Barnard Castle, has increased its roster of stallholders.
The sales are held on the first and last Saturday of the month from the end of February to the beginning of December.
Mr Blackmore said: “The nice thing is we are full. We have got plenty of variety and stallholders.
“In the two years since we took over, we’ve had 52 new stallholders. Some come just as a one-off and some have become regulars.
“We are turning people away. If we had a bigger venue, we could have half as many stalls again.”
He added: “We have regular customers. They know what’s here and they keep coming back.
“You see the same people time after time –that’s why we wanted to make the sale a proper local amenity. It would have been a shame if it had closed.”
Run on a not-for-profit basis, the event offers a charity table free of charge and a loyalty scheme for regular stallholders also operates.
“Any excess money goes into the kitty. This year it has paid for new banners,” said Mr Blackmore.
The current organisers took over running the event from Susan Snowdon who had run the sales for two decades.
Mrs Snowdon continues to take a stall at the event when other commitments allow.
She said she originally took it one when its future was in doubt.
“This used to be run by the church, but nobody in church was prepared to take it on. I thought it was outrageous.
“I stepped down two years ago, but people wanted it to keep going. It’s very much a local community thing.”
That’s when stallholders Mr Richmond and Mr Blackmore stepped in and helped keep it on a firm footing.