Sylvia Fletcher and her husband Sam have been running Fletcher’s Fruit and Veg for 55 years and her son John, 54, was almost born in the market! They retired a few years ago to leave John to take the reins of the family business and still like to pop in to help out at busy times such as Christmas.
We braved the wintery weather to have a chat with Sylvia about life as a market trader. Amongst other things, she told us what they sell over the years has changed ‘We just used to sell potatoes, onions, greens, that kind of thing, now we sell okra, sweet potatoes, red peppers, chilli peppers and all sorts now’
During the festive season you’ll also find real Christmas trees and holly wreaths, which are displayed right at the front of the stall spilling out onto Goldhawk Road.
ON CUSTOMERS: ‘We know all our regular customers by name; it’s a fun place to be, they’re not just your customers, they’re
your friends, they bring us home-made cakes, sweets, all sorts over the years.
The customers that buy the most are the local schools and restaurants, Ravenscroft School buys all their fruit and veg from us as
do many of the local cafes and restaurants’
ON BEING A MARKET TRADER: ‘Being out in the fresh air, not working in a stuffy office – especially in the summer, even though I’m officially retired I still come to the market to browse and have a chat.’ ‘It’s hard work, people think it’s easy but it’s not. John is up at 6am every morning to go and pick up the fruit and veg in
Hayes ready to open here at 8am. We close at 5:30 pm so it’s a long day’
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE MARKET? ‘You know why this market was created? It was for the war, after the war, when the soilders were coming back and might not have a job. They created this market for them to shop and work – they said there would always be a market here.’
Sylvia is right, Shepherd’s Bush Market will always be here. Next year will bring the biggest level of investment the market has ever seen, and through it all the market will remain open for business.
A big thanks to Sylvia and Sam for taking time out of their day to share their stories and opinions with us.