Bustler Market, a bustling street food market and event space in the centre of Derby, has switched to weekly openings. The move, a big one for the business who once upon a time only opened once a month, is set to create jobs for people in the surrounding areas, as well as financially support the traders that frequent the venue.
Recently, another change in the business saw Olivia Pritchard become the sole director, meaning that Bustler is currently headed up by the locally known female entrepreneur. Olivia previously owned and managed Hide, Rask and Bean Café to name a few, establishing herself in the business circuit within Derby.
Reflecting on recent, unprecedented times and the changes the business has seen, Olivia explained. “In March we had to temporarily close Bustler due to the new restrictions that were in place. We lost out on all of our regular event income as well as income from the several private functions we had booked in. Once it was safe to do so, we offered an In ’n’ Out style Bustler, where people could come and get takeaway food and beer. On July 4th, we reopened as a “socially distanced Bustler”. Capacity was reduced; however, the demand was still there. Our takings have been the same, and with fewer traders, they are also doing as well as they had been doing at our markets previously.”
When asked about how the hospitality industry has been affected by Covid-19, Olivia went on to add. “Hospitality was hit hard. Some businesses closed down and sadly haven’t been able to reopen. The hospitality industry is notoriously not a well-paid industry. With the furlough scheme and staff member’s only getting 80% of a wage, their take home pays have been very low for them to survive off. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme gave people the confidence to venture out and return to some sort of new normal, after the nationwide lockdown, which definitely helped small businesses get back on track. Our traders were hit really hard – most were not eligible for the grants and lost out on any big festivals and occasions they were booked for. By us extending our offering to weekly, we are hoping this will allow the traders to trade with us more often to help them make up for the losses they faced recently. Traders rely on events like us for their income, so we have an obligation to ensure that we put on a good event to support their small businesses, as well as us also needing to make it work as a small business ourselves.”
Olivia understands that some people may be concerned about venturing out, or perhaps social distancing, or even whether Bustler will be like it was before. She explains. “Because we are known to be ‘Bustling’ and busy, it took a few weeks for people to see how we had adapted to provide a safe environment. We’re the biggest food and drink space in Derbyshire and have lots of outside space, as well as ventilation inside. We are built for the new type of dining! When the news came out about table service, we were only 3 days out from an event. We had to think fast. Unfortunately, we had to postpone that event to ensure any new offering was still going to give people the Bustler experience they know and love. We have worked with Goodtill to develop an at table ordering app which will allow people to have their food and drink delivered right to their table. We have added even more seating increasing the total capacity to almost 500. The thought of running a 500-capacity restaurant is scary, but the new technology we will be using makes it less daunting. It is allowing us to double the amount of staff we currently employ which is also great.”
Looking to the future right now is scary for most, but especially small businesses. When asked what Bustler are planning, Olivia added. “We are now going to be open every weekend – including Sundays. We know there is a demand out there for people wanting to go out and mingle, so hopefully by offering it more frequently, it will give people more of an opportunity. When we first opened, we had queues and long wait times which was great because it meant that people wanted Bustler to be back and the support was unbelievable. People have always asked us why we don’t open weekly, so we thought now is a better time than any!”
The future is female, as they say, and Olivia becoming the new sole director has brought around more opportunities for the company, thanks to her expertise and network. She elaborates. “Since buying out Ben Edmonds of Blok Knives in July, it’s been great to get my teeth stuck into the business. We’ve got some super exciting things in the pipeline! We have recently launched our own range of merchandise, and we will also be moving home in the next few months! There’s also plenty more to come, which I can’t yet reveal, but they do involve working with some very exciting companies!”
In a bid to support the hospitality industry further, Olivia and her team have committed to employing more staff. She explained her reasoning for doing so. “With the move to table service and almost doubling our post Covid-19 capacity, we are employing 10 more part time staff. We are giving people work who have unfortunately been made redundant or lost their jobs due to their old place of work closing down. It brings a tremendous sense of happiness to be able to offer people an opportunity like this, in the current climate.”
Bustler Market is located at 7 John Street, Derby, and is now open every Friday, 5pm-10pm, Saturday, 12pm-10pm and Sunday, 2pm-6pm. Each weekend they will be welcoming a variety of street food vendors to trade from the venue. A bar and a live DJ is Bustler standard, and Bustler always ensure that there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten free offerings when it comes to both the food and drink. The space is family and dog friendly, and free entry is available to NHS staff, students and Derby County Football Club season ticket holders. Bustler Market is on Instagram, @bustler_market, and Facebook and Twitter, @bustlermarket.