WHILE there are often concerns about footfall across town centres and traditional markets, one of Leigh’s biggest market traders seems to be going strong despite the difficulties it has faced.

In its current form, Hotchix BBQ has been a feature of Leigh market since 1999 but has served its selection of high-quality meats, pastries, sandwiches, and cheeses for long before then.

On a late Tuesday morning, customers continually flocked toward the corner market stall, which highlights how it has bounced back since its period of closure during the pandemic.

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Leigh Journal: The stall prides itself on high-quality cooked meatsThe stall prides itself on high-quality cooked meats (Image: Leigh Journal)
To the dismay of many market traders, Leigh market was closed at the start of the pandemic and although essential food shops remained open during later lockdowns, many felt that the market trade and routine were significantly impacted.

Debbie Barnes, one of the managers at Hotchix, agreed with this but said that business has slowly been improving and getting back to how it used to be.

Debbie said: “[Lockdown] really did affect the stall at the time and it took a while for people to come back in the same numbers as they used to.

“But it is getting there and it is a lot busier than a couple of years ago.”

With the Hotchix team starting the day at 6am, they pride themselves on the quality of their cooked meats and the relationship they have with customers.

Leigh Journal: Leigh Market in 2015Leigh Market in 2015 (Image: Newsquest)
“We know all our regulars’ names and orders here, and we’re always asking where people are if they haven’t been in for a while”, Debbie added

“All the staff work hard and look after each other too so that makes things much easier.”

With Hotchix owners also boasting two other stalls in the market, this underlines the investment and commitment they have put into Leigh and their customers.

It is this type of commitment, from stall owners and staff members, that has helped to keep the market tradition going for so long in Leigh, from the current building constructed in 1989 and way before this too.

The council has also recognised this commitment from traders and their connection with customers, as a refurbishment of the market was included in its Levelling Up bid last year.

Although this bid was ultimately unsuccessful, it is hoped that any future regeneration bid will include plans to improve and modernise the market and ensure its survival for years to come.