Family traders on a longstanding stall at Birmingham’s famous rag market are reassuring customers that it’s business as usual while major plans for the site’s redevelopment are progressed.
The markets at the heart of the city centre stand to be completely revitalised as part of the £500million Birmingham Smithfield regeneration project, but Donna Price of the Birmingham Goldmasters jewellery stall is reminding people that they are still open for business in the meantime.
The Birmingham Smithfield development covers 14 hectares of land – including the wholesale markets, plus the Bull Ring indoor, outdoor and rag markets – which will become a new hub for retail and leisure.
According to the plans the retail markets will be incorporated into new and improved buildings at the heart of the development while the wholesale markets will be moved to a brand new purpose-built facility at The Hub in Witton. Work on the new wholesale markets site has already begun and the move is expected to take place next year.
While the Price family welcomes the regeneration, they want to keep serving as many customers as possible in the meantime.
Donna said: “I do think the market needs revamping; people aren’t coming in here like they used to. Redeveloping and modernising the area would give it a new lease of life and hopefully bring more visitors in.
“However I do think there has been some confusion and a lot of speculation about the wholesale markets and the rag market and we want people to know that we are still here, still working hard and looking forward to helping them with their jewellery purchases in the meantime.”
Donna, aged 35 from South Yardley, has been working on the stall regularly since her parents bought it from the previous owner some 16 years ago. In total Birmingham Goldmasters has had a presence on the rag market for more than 30 years.
In light of changing times and in the interest of keeping the business moving forward, the family has taken the stall online with a brand new website at www.birminghamgoldmasters.co.uk showcasing the variety of occasional and everyday jewellery on offer.
“We have gone online as we want to spread the word even further, but at the end of the day we are a family run business and we care about each individual customer and their purchases,” Donna said. “We have many regular customers who have become friends over the years and we love that personal interaction. Because we don’t have the overheads, we are also able to pass some of those cost savings on to the consumer.
“I love my job on the market and enjoy meeting different people. I hope people come and see us and do their bit to support the market.”
The rag market celebrates its 850th anniversary in September and Birmingham Goldmasters will be marking the occasion during the summer holidays.