Norfolk’s longest-running car boot sale to close
PUBLISHED: 15:57 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:18 06 December 2019
The longest running car boot sale in Norfolk will close before Christmas, with owners blaming online shopping for its downfall.
Banham Car Boot Sale, which has run almost every Sunday since it launched in September 1984, will open its gates for the last time on Sunday December 22.
The weekly car boot sale is one of the largest in the county, and owners claim that almost 1.75 million people have visited in its 35 years of business.
In a letter to stall holders, managing director Martin Goymour said that on-line market places on web sites such as Facebook and Ebay had "led to a steadily decreasing number of participants and visitors", and that the venture was no longer financially viable.
He added: "During the past 35 years it is estimated that some 140,000 stalls and some 1.74m visitors have been welcomed and accommodated."
Although owners pointed to the "advent of online markets" as the car boot's downfall, some traders said that the decision to charge shoppers an entry fee had impacted footfall.
The 50p entrance cost was introduced four years ago, and although owners removed the fee 18 months later, one stall holder said it caused lasting damage.
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "It's not a lot of money but if you're coming with a family of five then you don't want to pay that much to come and shop. If you're debating whether to go to Banham or somewhere else then you're not going to pick the one you pay for."
The car boot attracted many loyal customers, and news of the closure has triggered sadness.
Charlie Hamling, who has been visiting the market since 1984, said that more could have been done to promote the weekly market on social media.
He added: "It is a real shame it used to be more of an exciting family day out having a good rummage and get bargains. I'm sad about it as it's so local to me, but the lack of moving with the times has caused this."
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