VENDORS in the heart of York have voiced heartfelt thanks to their loyal customers as they welcomed the return of non-essential trading.

All traders at the Shambles Market Food Court have been able to return to work from Monday, including sellers of non-essential goods, as well as food and drink

The healthy & safety team, working with traders, have produced a new queue management standard to ensure Shambles Market is safe for visitors and traders.

The standard adheres to government regulations and provides a guideline to each trader on the best and safest way to manage queues around their stall.

Kevin Tuohy, chair of York Market Traders Forum and owner of Bags of Style, said: “The market traders are looking forward to getting back to their familiar routine. We have missed our colleagues and customers so much.”

Shambles Market offers a range of products from fresh produce, fruit and veg, to handmade arts and crafts, clothing and various repair services from many local independent businesses, who need the continued support of residents post-lockdown.

Among them is Mannion’s Fruits and Vegetables, run by John and Jean Mannion whose family has held city centre stalls since 1906.

John who took over from his father in 1970 said: “We’ve seen a lot of change over the years but my favourite thing about trading on Shambles Market has always been getting to meet so many new people and chatting to our customers.

“The market also has a really unique blend of traders and an outstanding fresh produce selection. Whilst the pandemic has had a big impact and has been tough, we’ve continued to provide high quality produce for our customers throughout.

“I’d like to thank all of our loyal customers for their ongoing support and to continue to encourage local York people to come to the market to do their shopping.”

Black Yak, a Fair Trade importer, wholesaler and manufacturer, this year celebrates 25 years of being in business and trading on Shambles Market.

With a loyal and global customer base, Black Yak sells sustainable clothing and crafts handmade in Nepal.

Rupert Harrison, of Black Yak, said: “Over the last 25 years we’ve seen real changes in Shambles Market and it has been great to see how it has grown in recent years as a major tourist attraction in its own right.

"The quality and diversity of the traders on the market is fantastic, and I really enjoy being part of that and meeting such a diverse range of people on a daily basis. I’d like to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to our customers who continue to support Black Yak and in turn help the artisan workers in Nepal who make our products.”

Artist Ben Staves, of Staves Art, who sells his hand-drawn cityscape artworks, started trading on the market in 2019 and said the atmosphere was 'fantastic' with a great community of traders, offering a mix of products and street food.

"We love being part of it. We have really missed seeing our customers face to face and chatting to them out on the stall.”

Wigginton Road Nurseries has had a base on Shambles Market for many years, with a stall located on Jubbergate. Run by two brothers, it specialises in a wide range of high-quality cut flowers and plants. Hand-picked in Holland, the stall offers a range of fresh flowers, with some of the more unusual and unique options not available in supermarkets.

Luke Suff set up Cycle Culture in July 2020 in York, providing reliable bicycle repair and servicing.

He has a stall on Shambles Market every Friday, with Cycle Culture on hand to provide a wide range of bicycle parts and accessories, as well as offering basic bike servicing on the stall whilst customers wait.

Luke said: “We started trading on Shambles Market in October last year and we’ve been made to feel so welcome, both by the other traders and the Make It York team who’ve been on hand to provide any help and guidance we’ve needed.

"There has been a huge surge in cycling recently with people using it as a way to get out and about more and exercise - we’ve been excited to help people get back out cycling again and enjoy the outdoors. We are really looking forward to continuing to build our business through 2021 and working with customers old and new.”

Meanwhile, Shambles Market and Food Court is open Monday-Sunday from 9am to 5pm - traders’ working days/hours may vary.