WORK to renovate Newport Market is continuing at pace, and ahead of the reopening, the first new traders have been announced.

In recent times, the Victorian indoor market has been closed to the public, as large scale changes are carried out inside.

While much of the work has been hidden behind scaffolding and barriers, these are slowly starting to come down, ahead of the reopening, which is set to take place in February 2022.

Once open, it will be home to a mix of retail and office space.

The ground floor is set to be home to 45 retail units, with a further 15 lifestyle units occupying the first floor mezzanine.

Meanwhile, there will also be a food hall of sorts on the ground floor, with 10 eateries all located in a similar space – with street food and cuisines such as Greek, Indian, pizza and desserts all on offer.

And, according to market bosses, 75 per cent of the retail units, and all 10 food units, have already been let out.

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Today, for the first time, some of the first retailers moving in have been revealed.

The first announced is Newport-based pet supplier Pure Pets.

Originally an online retailer, the move into the market represents their first foray into physical retail – though the online store is set to remain open too.

Vintage fashion and bridalwear company Ashwell & Co are also moving in to the market, it has been revealed.

The owners currently run Bristol-based business Heartfelt Vintage – mixing shopping with a tearoom, and it is set to be their first business this side of the border.

A third business setting up shop in the market will be Cardiff Distillery – albeit under the brand name Newport Distillery.

This business will have a double storefront, selling bottles of distilled products in the one, and offering gin schools and tasting sessions in the other.

Newport Distillery is already establishing itself in the city, sponsoring Newport County AFC and producing two new gins – one for the football club and one for the city as a whole called Gin Casnewydd.

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What else can be expected?

The multi-million pound transformation of Newport Market has been carried out by developers Loft co.

They have said that along with the retail and food space, the estimated 1.5 million visitors each year can enjoy some new facilities at the city centre site, too.

This includes an on-site gym, and a rooftop garden.

In terms of office space, 70 offices are said to be on offer at the site.

Once up and running, it is expected that it will be used to host events, conferences and weddings too – with space for between 50 and 250 people.

What has been said about the news?

Loft Co managing director Simon Baston said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the overwhelming positivity shown from the Newport community and local government towards the largest market redevelopment of its kind in the UK.

“We’ll be opening the market with all its food and retail attractions, offices and events space, at the beginning of February.

“Anyone who wants to join us and become part of the market should visit our website and register their interest.”

Donna Poole of Pure Pets said: “I read about what was happening to the market in a local magazine, and when I had the chance to look around inside, to see the work that had already been done, and the overall plans for the refurbishment I was so excited. It’s a real opportunity for small businesses and I think it’ll be fantastic.

“My unit in the market will concentrate on natural products for pets. It’ll be different to what I do online, and we’ll be selling pet supplies and personal gifts for pets, with everything as natural and healthy as possible.

“I’m a people person so I never wanted my business to be online-only. I’m passionate about animals and the environment, and that is what we will be all about in the market. I also want to work with and promote other small local businesses.”

Free Press Series: An artist impression of the inside of the marketAn artist impression of the inside of the market

Kate Ashwell of Ashwell & Co said: “We get customers travelling to our Clifton shop from Cardiff, the Valleys and Newport already so we have a Welsh customer base.

“We wanted our next shop to be somewhere in the centre of things and that is what we will have at the market.

“It’s a beautiful building and we will be surrounded by lots of other small independent businesses all starting together in a fantastic space, and we think that will create a real sense of community.

“It is a great opportunity. Independents will regenerate Britain’s high streets and we want to be part of that process in Newport.”

Free Press Series: Kate and Will Ashwell of Ashwell & Co will be bringing vintage fashion and bridalwear to the marketKate and Will Ashwell of Ashwell & Co will be bringing vintage fashion and bridalwear to the market

Paul Miller of Newport Distillery said: “Our prime reason for branching out and setting up in the market is the work Loft Co has done in the past. We particularly love Goodsheds at Barry, and the way that Simon Baston and his team prioritise working with independents like us.

“I’m from Swansea and I hadn’t been to Newport for about 20 years before I came to look at what is happening at the market.

“I hadn’t realised what a lovely city it is. The architecture in the city centre is fantastic, and what is planned for the marked and the wider area is really exciting. I can’t wait to see the market when it is finished.

“I know some of the other businesses that will be joining us in the market and I’m looking forward to meeting the others. There are some great opportunities for collaborations between us.”