Exactly a year ago today the popular Wembley market was closed indefinitely.
Today we see Wembley market return and I went along, so read on to find out how it went.
I should remind you that the market is now under new management and in a new location along Olympic Way which is a few yards away from the stadium car park where it used to be.
The reason for the people’s market being taken away was allegedly due to a small fraction of the 500 market stalls selling fake goods. Stalls selling fake goods were the problem of Wendyfairs the original operator, not the people or the legitimate traders problem.
Unfortunately local press have always chosen to taint the legacy of the people’s market which has become disproportionately remembered only as a place that sold fake goods.
So to rectify this, the local media had a chance of relaunching the market publicly in the right way. Disappointingly the headlines merely dubbed the return of Wembley market as ‘fake free’. Although a better reflection of the public’s feelings would be to simply mention the return of the people’s market or the return of traders who people might have missed.
Maybe the local press can educate readers about the benefits of a counterfeit free market. Such as fake goods deprive Brent Council of tax revenue that could be used to fund community initiatives?
The new Wembley ‘Park’ market has been accompanied by a multichannel campaign consisting of huge unmissable outdoor banners, direct mail and Adwords.
In contrast, Wendyfairs have always been low fidelity and didn’t rely on advertising because word of mouth pretty much did the job for 40 years. Noticeably, it has been seen as a need to enhance the people’s market with a knapsack of ‘place-maker’ ideas such as market ambassadors and endorsements from high-profile industry experts.
There is a risk of overkill with the ‘place branding’ of Wembley market, I think Quintain should scale back on the bells and whistles somewhat. Let the people’s market speak for itself.
So how was the first day?
The people’s market returned back to the shadows of the unmistakable arch.
The food quarter was lively with a variety of traders returning with the usual offering of chips, hot dogs, Caribbean cuisine & halal kebab.
New gourmet additions included: Eastern European cuisine.
Indian cuisine in the form of Turban Street which looked impossible to ignore.
Impressively prepared on an unusual semi-spherical hot plate heating device, kind of like an upside down steal pan.
Let the assemblement of a delicious lamb roti with mint yoghurt dressing begin.
For £5 this is what you get, it was very tasty though.
Wembley market’s distinct sound of Mr Quality who was notorious for pumping the atmosphere with a colourful mix of vintage reggae and glitzy Bollywood music was noticeably absent. As a replacement we had what seemed to be a musician strumming away on his guitar on a designated Wembley Park busking spot. So not as lively as it used to be but definitely more subtle and chilled out, I should mention there was also a steel pan band whose sound complimented the sunny afternoon.
As a huge coffee fan I had to try the new artisan street coffee offering via an impressive customised mobile barista bar. Unfortunately for them I’m a bit of a coffee connoisseur which is difficult not to be in London as there’s lot’s of great independent coffee houses like some of my favourites Prufrock, Monmouth, Workshop just to name-drop a few.
So naturally I was going to be a tough customer, the service was pleasant and friendly although it was quite strange when the barista decided to fist bump my girlfriend. I regret to say this but my coffee was below average, bitter and a bit rough rather than the smooth expertly crafted beverage I was hoping to boost my Sunday afternoon with.
Maybe it was a dud, I’ll happily try it next week to see if it was just a one-off crappy coffee?
So Wembley Sunday market is back and its first day was good, I noticed a few of the former traders have returned and it was equally good to see curious locals return to daylight for an early Sunday market stroll.
Address: Olympic Way, Wembley Park, HA9
Call: +447590 219887 or +447795 574602
Website: Wembley Park Market