Centre of attention for shoppers at Christmas

Tree-mendous: Peter Roe selling trees in the city centre.

Tree-mendous: Peter Roe selling trees in the city centre.

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THERE’S nothing quite like a Christmas market to raise festive spirits - and shoppers in Sheffield are getting the chance to buy a host of seasonal goodies in the city centre from today.

Handmade crafts, international foods and real Christmas trees are being sold by around 40 traders, who have set up shop in log cabins on Fargate until December 24.

A range of spruces and firs are bringing the festive touch to the street courtesy of tree sellers The Tree Amigos, the first traders to be up and running on the Sheffield Christmas Market.

Peter Roe, aged 35, from Walkley, will be manning the stall along with colleague Hannah Kippax, and told The Star business had been brisk so far.

“There’s been a good response. We’ve sold a fair few trees and had lots of enquiries,” said Peter, who works in construction during the rest of the year.

“I was a bit dubious about the whole thing at first - Christmas trees in the city centre.

“I didn’t know how people would manage to park, but people take their trees to their cars.

“It seems to be working, people certainly don’t seem to be put off.”

The Tree Amigos have been selling trees outside Morrisons supermarkets across Sheffield for around nine years, but this is the first time they have taken a market stall.

“We thought it would be nice to give something else a go,” said Peter.

“I think markets are very important. Big stores are destroying individual trade,” Peter said.

Market-goers can also find novelty gifts at Georgia Stokes’ stall, which will be selling personalised stockings.

Georgia, who will be adding names and special messages to bright red stockings and hats, said this year was also her first time at Sheffield Christmas Market, previously held in the Peace Gardens.

The 23-year-old stallholder, who’s originally from Cambridge, said: “Hopefully it will be good. We’ve been looking everywhere for a market and we knew one of the people that’s running this one.

“We’d like to have sold food but someone else is doing it already. That’s why we decided to do something different.”

Georgia, who usually works in events, added: “Markets are important because at Christmas time, other events really slow down, there isn’t much else for us to do. So it’s a good opportunity for us to make a living.”

Her fiancee Dean Ayres, 24, is also running a hat stall at the market, selling everything from farmers’ flat caps to novelty headgear with cuddly bear and tiger faces.

The log cabins will be open from 10am to 6pm daily, with late-night shopping on Wednesdays until 6pm.

Food and drink outlets are open from 10am to 10pm.

The market is open until 5pm on Sundays.

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