Market matters

Market Matters - John Webber on his vegetable stall.
Market Matters - John Webber on his vegetable stall.
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John Webber has been selling fruit and vegetables on Bury St Edmunds market for 50 years.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays his regular customers form a queue at his stall where many are greeted by name and enjoy a friendly chat as they select their produce.

John, now 60, began working on the market at the age of 10 when he joined his father’s stall.

He said: “I used to come in early morning and do deliveries to the canteens.

“I used to have to climb about 60 stairs to get to the Woolworths canteen.”

John has come from a farming and horticultural background and when he started on the market his family grew many of the vegetables they sold.

After gaining 15 years of experience John opened his own market stall.

He said: “I started my own stall when I was 25 so been on here with my own stall for 35 years.”

Now, 50 years after joining the market, he uses his knowledge and experience to cultivate relationships with suppliers and ensure the produce sold on his stall is as local and fresh as possible.

This involves visiting his suppliers and changing what he sells with the seasons to ensure quality.

John said he feels very lucky to have spent his working life on the market, predominantly because of his customers.

He said: “Most of these people come every week. You build it up through looking after them - trust is a big thing.”

John described Bury St Edmunds market as East Anglia’s prime market.

He said: “I could not be in a better town. The town has developed in itself, if the Arc had been put out of town it would have made a huge difference.”

John is also positive about the future of the town’s market.

He said: “I think it’s got a bright future you’ve got housing, you’ve got people there who come and use the market.”

John said market stalls will continue to compete with supermarkets as they offer services larger retailers cannot.

He can guarantee the freshness of his produce, knows who grew it and where and offers his customers a personal service.

He said “I am lucky that I have enjoyed what I have done over the years.”

John wanted to thank his staff and customers for making his 50 years on the market so enjoyable.