IT’S fair to say that Newport Indoor Market’s grandeur has faded in recent years.

As you stroll around the market today, the first thing you might notice is empty stalls. But soon, you forget about what’s missing and start to notice what’s there: a buzzing atmosphere generated by its small army of determined stall keepers.

If you can catch a minute with the busy sellers, they will talk your ear off about the glories of the past, but there is also a sense of optimism.

Dean Beddis, owner of Kriminal Records for the last eight years, said: “I’ve been working here for 32 years and I’m optimistic because a lot of people in here selling things that they have made or love themselves. They’re not just making a living, and that passion really comes through. There’s a real atmosphere of independence here.

“We’re hoping that people will come into the market and feel the same way that we do because there are plenty of opportunities here.

“We should be the jewel in the centre of the crown of Newport, because the market is really something to be proud of.”

James Harty has owned a Welsh gifts and football merchandise stall in the market since November 2016.

The former steel worker explained that he came to the indoor market after being made redundant last year. But he has now found a new lease of life in the market.

“It’s a bit slow at times, and really hard work, but I just love it,” he said.

“The interaction with the customers is just so different from what I’m used to. If you can get more traders in here, then it will definitely pick up.

“We’re trying to be as diverse as possible. I think we’re the only place in town that does Welsh gifts, for example.

“There’s plenty of room for people who want to start out on their own, and there’s a chance to grow if we can keep this momentum going.”

Annette Farmer owns the Exclusive Jewellery stall near the entrance of the market, where she has worked for 30 years.

Ms Farmer was recently elected as the new chairwoman of the market association and explained that she has big plans for the market’s future.

“I’m hoping to hold a flea-market every Wednesday if I get a licence approved by the council. It will completely change this place, and I’ve been inundated with calls requesting tables,” she said.

“Another idea we’ve got for that upstairs space is to use it to screen old movies. It’s such a beautiful space up there and to see it empty is frustrating.

“We basically want to end up with an event a day going on at the market. We have ideas for lots of themes and we’re working with the council to make things happen.

“Another focus of mine is replacing the old neon sign that used to be visible from the bridge over the river. It was such a focal point for the city-centre, and I want to bring some of that back.

“What people get here that they don’t get anywhere else is that sense of friendliness combined with great service at a low price.

“It’s a real community, and we’re here to preserve it.”