AN ONGOING global pandemic hasn’t stopped a dedicated market stall from trading during the lockdown.

The family-run Shield Green Nurseries grows a wide range of perennials from seed and seedlings. It also provides homegrown cut flowers including tulips, dahlias and gladioli.

Appearing at Hexham Market Place on a daily basis, products available include fresh eggs, bird care products and other seasonal items such as holly wreaths.

The Hexham Courant has launched a campaign celebrating businesses going above and beyond in the community, identifying their special efforts by crowing them Trader of the Week.

Reflecting on the trade over the past 13 weeks of lockdown, Steven Dunn was positive about how the market stall and company had fared.

“The business has been very good, we’ve managed to keep trading thanks to the people coming and supporting us,” he said.

“We’ve also done a delivery service from the nursery, which has been very good as well. We’ve had a lot of support from new customers and old.”

The market stall has become a regular fixture of Hexham’s Market Place, trading all-year-round with a variety of products on offer.

Steven explained: “At the very start, we were selling a lot of eggs and we ran out the first few days. That’s the same with the bird food and then, as the season came in for the plants, we have sold a lot of them.

“People have been stuck at home and I think they have been pleased to get into the garden. Lots of people have said they have got lovely looking gardens now.”

The idea of ceasing trading as restrictive lockdown rules were enforced by the Government was never an option for the business.

“We had to keep trading and, as long as people have been satisfied, that is great for us,” Steven said.

“Plant wise, most of the things we sell we grow ourselves. We supply eggs locally as well so we have been able to get most of the produce without a problem. But we ran out of our bedding plants pretty early in the season, and it was not easy at all, but I think most people were able to get what they wanted.”

The prominence of ‘shop local’ messages from local communities, councils and the Government has benefitted independent businesses throughout the district.

However, national fears of consumer fatigue upon returning to the high street have not affected the business' future outlook.

Steven added: “We have got to be positive for the future. We are keeping our head down and moving on, and hoping we can build on the delivery side and deliver to people’s homes.

“There are a lot of elderly people who visit the stall, who have been customers with us for a long time, and we have been delivering eggs, bird food and plants to them. If we can keep that going that will improve our business further.”