Outdoor markets help revitalize border retail, says award-winning Selkirk butcher

John Taylor. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Open-air markets are helping to revitalize retail in the wake of the pandemic, says an award-winning butcher known as the ‘Selkirk Pastry Chef’.

John Taylor made it a triple gold at the recent World Scotch Pie Awards.

After the gold medals of previous years for its scotch pie and its bridie pie, it has just won another golden gong for its creamy chicken and leek pie.

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But John, who launched Taylors in the High Street just over three years ago, believes his business could not operate at the same level without the growing popularity in outside markets.

He believes this is because buyers feel safer outdoors and revealed that without trading in the market he would have to lay off six of his 11 staff.

John, 49, said: “We do a lot of markets from Edinburgh to Newcastle and beyond.

“The shop is quiet despite a good run at Christmas, January was pretty quiet, but we are very busy with the markets.

“We do markets in Leith, Tynemouth, Haddington, Loch Lomond, Kelso and Jedburgh. I actually have to turn them down because I don’t have the manpower to follow them all.

“We’ve been doing the markets for three years and have noticed a big difference recently. Last year they were really, really good.

“I think it’s Covid-related. When all the stores were closed, we were open but it was all about deliveries, deliveries, and then when the markets started to open people saw the opportunity to go out and shop, to get out of the house and out of the store and it was absolutely phenomenal.

“When it all opened up they went back to what they were doing for a while, but since January we’ve seen a massive rally in the markets.

“I think people feel safer in the outdoor markets and it’s also a day. We need about eleven employees, full-time, part-time and casual, to run the business and the markets. If we didn’t have the markets, we’d probably get away with only three in the store.

“Markets keep this place going, or so I would say. If we lost the markets, we would have to lose several employees.”

Meanwhile, John is still buzzing with the gold accolade bestowed on his new creamy chicken and leek pie.

He added: “I’ve been making pies for over 20 years and telling people I think this is the best pie I’ve ever made.

“It’s the creamy sauce blend and it’s so rich with the broth we use and it really ticks all the boxes. The feedback I’ve gotten has been fantastic. People love it.”


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