NEWPORT city centre has marked more than just the return of shoppers and non-essential traders this week.

When the shutters were rolled up on Monday, it was also the first day in the city for The Port - next door to River Island in Friars Walk.

The Port is a permanent space for market traders to gather to offer their produce to shoppers, and organiser Gareth O’Sullivan, owner of Green Top Events, is delighted to see new and old faces.

“It’s important traders have a space to trade Monday to Friday, as well as at weekends,” he explained.

“A lot rely on our markets across Gwent and further afield, and they have really lost out over the pandemic.

“Town and city centres now all look the same with the same shops. We think we offer something different, so please come and support us. Everything our traders sell is bespoke.”

For Brian Morrish, owner of Shivers Distribution which specialises in Welsh cheeses, it was his first time trading in the city since leaving Newport Market last February.


“Newport needs a place like this,” he said. “Until the first lockdown I had a stall in Newport Market for five years. In the last few days [there] I took less money than I had in my first day in the market years ago. The bottom just fell out of it.

“It’s worrying for the city. I think it happened because of the way the town is organised, but also because of people’s shopping habits.

“[Monday] was a reminder of the old days - how Newport used to be.”

Carl Simmonds of Old Brenin Distillery said being part of the market was enjoyable after a tough year.

“After hearing some sad stories from traders I feel very fortunate to have experienced what I have during the pandemic,” he said.

“We were approached to make ethanol for hand sanitiser, which has helped keep us ticking over.

“As a dyslexic person I’ve struggled with the funding, but Business Wales has advised me well, and things are looking up.”

The first day back predominantly saw queues for the big chains, but Mr O’Sullivan hopes they will get similar queues soon.

“We’re happy with how the first day went,” he added. “I hope people get to know about us soon.

“These traders have been through a hell of a lot - losing all business due to markets being closed across the region. They deserve a good restart, and I hope we can achieve that.”