THE future of Colwyn Bay's Local Market is set to be discussed.

Stella McClure and her partner Ben Froment, of The Artisan Market Company, will no longer manage the Colwyn Bay local market from the end of January. The couple, who breathed new life into the market when they took it on at the height of the pandemic, have revealed their decision to step away.

Stella and Ben will continue with Colwyn Bay Artisan Market however, the events will no longer run on the third Saturday of every month [between April and November]. Instead - one "big" Artisan market will be held in the town during the summer and two specialist markets are planned.

Conwy County Borough Council confirmed that discussions will take place over the future of the market.

Cllr Nigel Smith, Conwy County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Economy, said: “We were made aware that Stella and Ben were thinking about stepping down from running the local market in Colwyn Bay, but we haven’t been told officially. We would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication over the past few years and all they’ve done for the benefit of the town. 

"We are living in a world where shopping habits have changed and footfall has unfortunately reduced in our town centres. Along with the cost of living crisis and the rise in fuel costs it’s a perfect storm and it made it unsustainable for the traders to attend the local market. 

“Going forward we’ll now need to discuss the future of the local market.”

In a joint statement, Stella and Ben said: "It's a sad decision that we've had to come to but we feel it's the right one.

"We took over the local market at the height of the pandemic and launched our very first market day straight out of the first lockdown to a new 'covid era' in July 2020.

"Already a troubled and struggling market before we took it on, we rose to the challenge of breathing life back into the depleted market.


"Over the last three-and-a-half-years we have worked very hard to improve the market, promoting it, trying new initiatives like 'Foodie Tuesday', 'fun days', additional vegan markets running alongside the local market and created numerous special offers to encourage new traders.

"During this time we have introduced 98 brand new traders to the Local Market, most of whom were given a free stall for their first weeks or months in order to give them a head start and get them a regular customer base in the hope they would become a regular trader.

"There were times during the first year that seemed very positive, with a regular grocer, butcher, cheesemonger, florist and hot street food stalls among others," the statement added.

"Our plan to fill up Station Road was becoming increasingly more likely with half the street lined with stalls and the market was looking very promising.

"But, sadly, with the change in shopping habits since Covid, people working from home and notably less people on the streets it meant there just weren't enough local shoppers utilising the market, making it impossible for the traders to sustain a good living and gradually they stopped coming back.

"The last 18 months then took an even greater turn for the worse, high petrol prices meant that some traders could no longer travel to markets beyond a certain radius and the cost of living crisis caused some to go out of business completely with prices of stock, materials and equipment now making their business unfeasible.

"Add to this, customers are now spending considerably less and understandably having to watch every penny, something that is happening across the nation.

"So with costs rising and sales plummeting, the knock on effect has been huge."

Stella and Ben said they were "extremely disappointed" not to achieve their goals for Colwyn Bay Local Market.

"We've tried our hardest to keep it going for the those traders and the benefit of the town but sadly, with this in mind, we feel the market has come to an end and is no longer sustainable," they said.

"We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has traded with us on this market and to those who did show your support by shopping on the market."