Cabin fever for traders in market mix-up
A LOOE family was forced to work through the night to prepare their Christmas stall after being told to move to a different spot at the Plymouth Christmas Market.
Graham and Sarah Lee paid over £3,000 to sell pottery from a cabin at the market, which takes place in the city centre during the run-up to Christmas.
After spending seven hours setting up their cabin, organisers told them they had to move to a different location because the cabin they were in was allocated to another business.
Mr Lee said the whole set-up was a joke.
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The 49-year-old father of two explained: "We turned up on Tuesday night with all our equipment trying to set up the shop.
"When we got there at 6pm the cabins weren't ready. The cabin they tried to give us didn't have a lockable door so we were given a temporary one to store our equipment in overnight."
The family was told to come back at 7am the following morning and that they would then be given a permanent cabin.
Mr Lee said: "We went back at 7am in the morning for them to turn up at 10am saying the traffic was bad.
"We then had to move all of our equipment two hundred yards to another cabin."
The family run a shop called Paint a Pot where customers design and paint their own pottery. Mr Lee said the stock they took to the market weighed one and a half tonnes.
"They said they were going to help us move the stuff but nobody did," he added.
After being allocated their new cabin on Wednesday morning, the family set to work preparing the shop for business.
"We've got to make it look pretty and nice for our potential customers," Mr Lee explained.
The family spent several hours setting up the stall before being told to move to another site.
"We were smiling through it all but then at 2pm we got told we were in the wrong cabin," Mr Lee said.
The cabin that the family were told to leave happened to be allocated to another trader from Looe.
"If it wasn't a person from Looe I might have ranted and raved, jumped up and down and screamed but everyone in business knows you just have to smile through it," Mr Lee said.
The family said it was the first time they had a stall at the market and hope it would give the business a boost in the run-up to Christmas.
"We're one of a few shop-keepers in Looe trying to earn a bit of extra money for Christmas. Times are hard and holiday-makers are not putting their hands as far into their pockets."
A spokesman from Market Square Group said: "Gale force winds and driving rain hindered the build-up but everyone did their best to get things ready as soon as they possibly could.
"Paint a Pot weren't the only ones affected but we did our best to accommodate stock."
The organisers claim that the Lee family had set up in a cabin they had not been allocated. They also said the family was offered £300 in compensation.
"We're sorry they feel let down but we feel we did our best to help them under circumstances which were out of our control."