WHILE Purdon’s Cheese was one of the lucky stalls deemed as essential and allowed to stay open, stallholder Paul Purdon is relieved to see Bury Market reopen.

“We’ve been open all the way through but it will be a relief to see everyone back in and all the other stalls open,” he said.”It has been a long 12 months.”

Despite being able to continue selling his wares, Paul admits the impact on the business has been huge.

“During the first lockdown we were massively affected,” he said. “Sales were down between 80 and 90 per cent from what we’d normally be doing and even right up until this weekend we were probably about 60 per cent down.

“Out stall is out on a bit of a limb so there has only been the odd stall near us that has been open so people have been surprised when they’ve come to the market that we’ve even been open.

“The main thing for us will be to get the coaches back especially during the week. On a Wednesday and a Friday they are essential and make a hell of a difference whereas you get your regulars on a Saturday.”

Paul is comfortable with many of the new Covid-19 guidelines on his stall and hope his customers return to their previous numbers.

“You have to be a bit more careful when dealing with the public,” he added. “But it’s down to the public too who have to be more aware.

“We have over 200 different cheeses on sale here and the Lancashire cheeses are especially popular. I’m hopeful that people will continue to ‘shop local’ which was something that really helped us through the lockdown. We are very grateful for it and I hope they keep using us rather than the big stores.”