AS PONTYPOOL Market’s refurbishment nears completion, its appeal to new traders continues to gather speed.

Last month, the market added real dairy ice cream, fishing tackle, and bespoke clothing and accessories to the shopping outlet.

Now, it boasts a new florist, vegetable stall holders and funeral planners.

Andre Litchfield and his business partner, Kevan Haymonds, started their business Active Promotional Solutions after working together for number of years.

They launched the stall Golden Leaves to sell wills and equity release six months ago in Abergavenny Market, but the pair moved location after seeing the potential in Pontypool.

Mr Litchfield, 55, said: “Pontypool is in a central location for our business and we think that the refurbishment will make it a thriving market for us to house the hub of our business.

“Our plan is to expand and have four outlets across South Wales but Pontypool will remain the centre of our company as we think the market has great potential.”

Husband and wife team, Rhianne and Danny Harris, have decided to open a fruit and veg stall alongside a flower stall in the market.

Mrs Harris, 38, previously worked on a fruit and vegetable stall and gained a qualification as a florist at Usk College.

She said: “I am loving working in the market and everyone has been very supportive and welcoming.

“The trade in the market is starting to pick up and the refurbishment has completely changed it making it a nice environment.”

She said that she is passionate about the florist side of the business, while Mr Harris will run the fruit and vegetable stall.

The £2.3 million refurbishment of the market is nearing completion, with Mogfords Arcade and the toilets expected to be finished by mid-September.

The project, which launched in May last year, aimed to update the Grade II-listed building by making it a brighter and more vibrant shopping location.

Other traders who have signed up since the refurbishment are friends, Gemma Pugh, 35, and Fiona Gallear, 53, who decided to run their separate businesses, Frankie Rose Clothes and Fiona’s Tutus & Bows, from one stall.

Also, a former ice cream van driver, David Norman, 59, who opened Dave’s Ices, and husband and wife team, Adrian and Kathleen Snelgrove, who have opened the stall Hooks and Lines, which sells fishing tackle and equipment, and accessories.