Market hits the year running

Middlesbrough’s home to independent retailers has hit the year running with a new look and two new traders. 

ASB Football Shirts and Ezzy May’s Little Boutique have joined the unique collection of businesses at the historic Dundas Indoor Market where you can buy everything from your Sunday beef to Himalayan crystals.

Its private owner has made a big investment in fresh branding and signage and one of the new traders – Mark Bythway of ASB Football Shirts – said he decided to start his business there because “it’s at the heart of Teesside, bang in the middle of the town.”

He added: “There’s a thriving market in vintage football shirts and this means people from Teesside will no longer have to travel to Newcastle, Manchester or London.”

Mark has given up his job as hospital sales and marketing manager to pursue a new career as an independent retailer and said: “It’s the realisation of a dream for me. It’s something I’ve thought about for a very long time.”

The arrival of his business and Ezzy May’s Little Boutique, which sells clothes for children and adults as well as bespoke gifts, comes just after the completion of a major extension to Jean’s Kitchen. The café is the cornerstone of the Dundas Indoor Market and its owner Jean Hall has provided hungry Teesside shoppers with wholesome meals for nearly a quarter of a century.

Nicole Bean – who opened the Alta Ego shop in 2017 – has grown her business as well, launching a sister store called Altanative, which is already proving to be very popular with customers.

Independent retailers pointing the way 

The Indoor Market is part of the Dundas Shopping Centre which has also seen big changes in its appearance and its offer.

The Orchard Café – which closed last year – has reopened under a new owner who has re-employed the former staff.

The café sits above the Brickyard Bakery. It started trading in November, selling great tasting artisan bread, baked on the premises.  The bakery is also providing life-changing opportunities for six interns.

David Harris, the Manager of the Indoor Market, said: “I believe the independent retail sector – with its broad range of businesses offering unique products and services – is pointing the way forward for the town centre.

“Middlesbrough has lost loads of big retailers in the last few years and we’re unlikely to see like for like replacements.  Internet shopping has probably paid a big role in their decline.  Ironically, although the majority of our independent traders start out online, they need the space and support we provide to take the next steps to grow.”

All Dundas market traders benefit from an all-inclusive deal which means their rent covers the cost of their energy as well as business rates and fibre broadband.

The price of a unit starts as low as £75 per week to help new tenants get their businesses up and running through the make-or-break early months.