Vendors operating from Cheapside Market, The City are not a happy bunch at the moment, as they complain about a litany of woes affecting their profitability.
From unruly and uncooperative fellow traders to unfriendly conditions, the vendors said something had to be done urgently to ensure a fair deal for every tenant.
One of the major concerns was illegal vending on the sidewalks outside the complex, which reopened in 2003.
Anderson Baker, who has been selling at the market since its reopening, told Barbados TODAY those operating under the roof of the open market were struggling as a result.
“Things are not like before; the market is becoming more and more competitive. People are not really coming into the market because of the influx of vendors outside,” an exasperated Baker said.
Frustrated at their inability to match those vending outside, many of the traders have taken to joining them, Baker said.
“Vendors have good stalls within the market, yet they go out on the streets and customers never even walk into the market as a result. They [vendors] are simply using the stalls on the inside as storage.”
While the produce sellers on the lower level worry about illegal vending outside, those on the upper level complained of a different problem – no one seems to know they are there.
Chantal Jordan of Baby Diaries store has had her business there for two years, and she said the lack of awareness was worrying.
Jordan told Barbados TODAY as the owner of the facility, Government should advertise that services were available upstairs in order to drive awareness and business for the retailers.
“Many people don’t know that there is even an upstairs to Cheapside Market, they don’t know that there are clothes, jewellery and food outlets here. So we definitely need more signage downstairs to direct people where the stores are,” Jordan said.
In addition, she said, the vendors should combine their resources to promote the facility.
“I believe if we could advertise together then the market would do better,” she said.
Meanwhile, insufficient facilities and competition from imports top the list of grievances by butchers.
One of them who gave his name as “Ken” said he had been at the market since 1972 when he assisted his father, before taking over the business in 1990.
He said the market could do with some improvement.
“Last year in here we had no air condition for six months and no one cared. All now we have no back-up electricity, so God forbid if the current goes off we lose money as there are two freezers in the back and that is it. So all of our meat will be wasted, and that’s not good enough.
“[In addition] we are supposed to only sell local meat, yet the beef and lamb are all imported in here. So yes, we have problems that no one wants to address and are often overlooked,” the veteran butcher said.