Down a small road in Bluebell Business Park, the Green Door Market had a small-ish “official” opening of its new home last Saturday.
Colourful tables and chairs were set out beside the entrance, which was lined with flowers, herbs, and other plants. A fruit-and-vegetable stall attracted newcomers and familiar faces with home-grown courgettes and imported pineapples.
In early May, the Green Door was one of several markets told to leave the Newmarket buildings in the Liberties – along with the Dublin Flea, Fusion Sundays, and others.
So the owners signed a Iease in Bluebell, and opened their new premises there on 21 June.
Just off the Naas Road, the area has semi-detached homes facing furniture dealerships and discount markets, while a grey consultancy firm stands sentinel in front of the market’s entrance.
A New Home
At the Lilliput Stores stall, which sells olives and cheeses, Jorge Gonzalez says he and his staff have mixed feelings about the move.
They miss the old premises in the Liberties, he says, but “we hope that people are going to have access to products that maybe they’re not selling around here”.
Gonzalez has spotted some regular faces already, he says, a sign that some customers have been willing to change their routine and follow the market more than 5 kilometres west, past Drimnagh and Inchicore, to its new location in Bluebell.
It’s a destination market, says Felix Crop from the Good Crop Company stall. He dishes out homemade granola to a customer, leaning over a table of seeds, nuts, and dried fruits.
So changing premises doesn’t bother him too much, he says. “It’s the best market we do, so people love convenience, and if they can park here for free, and bring their kids here and relax for the day, it’ll be a big success.”
Customer Mary Gill said she shops for flowers at the Green Door Market every week, and can still walk to the new location from her home.
“I think it will be good because I think in Newmarket it sort of opened up that area, and I think it would probably do the same for around here,” Gill says.
Veronica Kavanagh said she was happy when she heard the market was moving to Bluebell. “Living in Inchicore we don’t have any greengrocers anymore; it’s all supermarket vegetables,” she says.
“I’m delighted, and I’ve been telling all my neighbours and friends,” she says. “I don’t think enough local people know about it.”
While some customers may have followed the market from the Liberties, or come on purpose, others said they had just stumbled onto it.
“This is the first time we’ve been here,” says Sharon Doherty, who came from Palmerstown with her daughter. “I didn’t realise it was here. We were on our way to a different store when I saw the sign.”
The meat and fish counter stood out, Doherty says. She sips a cup of coffee. “It’s a great way for people to meet each other; local people. There’s nothing like this around at all.”
Rebuilding a Vibe
The Green Door Market has a 10-year lease on its new location, says market co-owner Deirdre O’Sullivan, “which means we can invest a bit of money and develop it really well”.
It will be open six days a week, so they’re reliable for those who live and work in the area, O’Sullivan says. She hopes to develop new food outlets for the lunchtime crowd during the week.
Also on the to-do list are leaflet drops, interviews on local radio, and vegetable-box schemes. All to spread the word, she says.
Bluebell does seem industrial, O’Sullivan says. “But there’s a lot of people working here, [and] we would hope to capture that audience.”
The music, food, and conviviality of the market in the Liberties will also be transferred over, says Christy Stapleton, co-owner of the market. The space is similar, so it feels like home already, he says.
A new area means new opportunity, too, Stapleton says. He wants to build up some strong Sunday markets, and link in with schools in Bluebell as they had done in Newmarket.
It was a bit of a rush to find a new place, says Jack Stapleton, who is Christy’s son. But “so far, from what I’ve heard from people who live and work locally is, there’s nothing like this anywhere nearby”.
Keeping the community vibe is important to many at the market. When it was in the Liberties, it was an important gathering place, says customer Pat Groves.
“Go on a Saturday, do some shopping, sit down and talk. That might happen here, but I wouldn’t say it’ll attract the same amount of people,” Groves says.
You never know though, he says, leaving the Lilliput Stores stall. “If you’re chasing good quality food, you’ll probably chase it at whatever distance.”
While Bluebell will benefit, there should be more of these markets across Dublin in general, Groves says.
Supermarkets just can’t offer the same kind of community, he says. “You go there, it’s yellow-pack a lot of the time. It’s not the same experience.”