Marc Gilbert became a market trader after graduating from university and finding the country gripped by recession – that was about five years ago.
He obtained a degree in photography as a mature student and was working as a picture framer at a studio in Ipswich when it closed because of the recession, forcing him to take an ‘obvious’ change in direction.
The 43-year-old considers himself a ‘Jack of all trades’ having worked in retail for many years, as well as a scaffolder, labourer, ceramic tiler and NVQ assessor, so he thought the market would ‘be a good fit’ for him.
“I knew retail and didn’t want to work for somebody else so thought I’d try this, and it’s been a few years now,” he said, adding that being his own boss is something he really enjoys.
He sells kitchenware utensils and household plastics – ‘all the gadgets you never knew you needed’ – with cereal containers one of his most popular items and cake containers more sought after than ever which he attributes to the success of the Great British Bake Off TV show.
His stall can be found opposite Clintons in Bury St Edmunds’ Butter Market on Wednesdays and near the town’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill store on Saturdays when his partner Hannah Tooke also helps out.
On why he chose Bury, Mr Gilbert, of Sproughton, said: “We’ve always been fans of Bury. Before we started working here, every opportunity, rather than go into Ipswich, we’d come here. So, when we thought about doing a market, we knew we wanted to do Bury because it’s a proper market.”
Mr Gilbert has travelled extensively and enjoys clay pigeon shooting and Muay Thai training (Thai boxing) in his spare time.
He also reads a lot in the down time he gets on his stall, which has become more frequent of late.
Although he started the year strong, he thinks uncertainty over Brexit may be affecting trade on the market and he is looking forward to Bury’s busy Christmas Fayre.
He said: “People aren’t doing the same trade as they were – we’re still here, we’re still doing what we can but it’s not been as good a year as it was starting.”
He added: “I really enjoy Bury, I love the town and I want the market to prosper, not just for myself but it’s key with regards to the character of the town to have it here.
“It’s something like a 400-year-old market so it’s nice to be part of that.”