Outdoor markets are helping revitalise retail trade in the Borders says award-winning Selkirk butcher

Outdoor markets are helping revitalise retail trade in the wake of the pandemic, an award-winning butcher known as the 'pie man of Selkirk' believes.

By Paul Kelly
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 2:18 pm
John Taylor. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
John Taylor. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Outdoor markets are helping revitalise retail trade in the wake of the pandemic, an award-winning butcher known as the 'pie man of Selkirk' believes.

John Taylor made it a hat-trick of golds at the recent World Scotch Pie Awards.

Following golds in previous years for his scotch pie and bridie pie he has just picked up another golden gong for his 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 if not for the increasing popularity of outdoor markets.

He believes that's due to shoppers feeling safer outside and has revealed that without market trade he'd need to let go six of his 11 staff.

John, 49, said: "We do loads of markets from Edinburgh to Newcastle and further afield.

"The shop is quiet despite a good run at Christmas, January was pretty quiet, but we are kept really busy by the markets.

"We do markets at Leith, Tynemouth, Haddington, Loch Lomond, Kelso and Jedburgh. I'm actually having to turn them down because I don't have the manpower to keep up with them all.

"We've been doing the markets for three years and have noticed a big difference recently. The last year they have been really, really good.

"I do think it is Covid-related. When all the shops were closed we were open but it was all about deliveries, deliveries, and then when the markets started to open up people saw the opportunity to come out and shop, to get out of the house and shop and it was absolutely phenomenal.

"When everything opened up they dipped back to what they used to do for a time but since January we have seen a massive upturn in the markets.

"I think people feel safer in the outdoor markets and it's also a day out. It takes about eleven of us, full-time, part-time and casual staff, to run the business and the markets. If we didn't have the markets we'd probably get by with just three in the shop.

"The markets are driving this place on, that's what I would say. If we lost the markets we'd have to lose several staff."

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

He added: "I've been making pies now for well over 20 years and I was telling people I think it's the best pie I've ever made.

"It's the blend of the creamy sauce and it's so rich with the stock we use in it and it really ticks all the boxes. The feedback I've been getting is fantastic. People love it."