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A street market is an outdoor market such as traditionally held in a market square or in a market town, and often held only on particular days of the week. Very similar markets, or bazaars, can also be found in large enclosed spaces, instead of on a street.
Some traders travel the length and breadth of a country to attend markets, often travelling during the night or early hours, turning market squares and streets in to vibrant colourful places. At many markets (gaffs) especially the smaller sites each trader arrives (pulls on) to the market at an allotted time and the build up is like clockwork. As one trader has set up and is ready to park another pulls on to build his stall up—all will be ready to open when the public arrive.
Britain's market traders
As the first real form of retailing, not a great deal has actually changed. Many people have tried their hand at Market trading and some have made vast fortunes, Marks and Spencers, Tesco, New Look all started from a barrow or stall. The life is tough and the hours can be very long but there are certain families who have been involved with the industry,for many generations and usually linked to the same trade or line. Halkets is one of these, based around Stoke-on-Trent,are famous for selling "pots" (china and pottery) at markets and fairs up and down the country. Benjamin is also another old family name connected with the markets and fairs,these seem to still operate around the London and Oxford areas and are involved with the selling of small leather goods,handbags and lugggage.
Traders can be licensed to trade on a single pitch but not at a national level or when trading on private land. This has led to declining confidence in the reputation of markets. A voluntary scheme has been set up by The Market People, backed by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) to address this. It provides consumers with traceability of traders and goods as well as the ability to rate and contact the traders. A MarketPASS is issued to an operator or Trader once they have provided proof of identity, insurance and, where required, a hygiene certificate.
England's chartered markets and fairs
Many of the older historic markets carry a "charter" which gives that particular market certain rights and protection. For example, another market can't be held on the same day within a certain distance of a "chartered market". These were awarded by kings to markets and fairs all over England, and to this day are guarded by market traders and showmen.
- See: markets in London
Some examples of street markets include Berwick Street Market, Broadway Market, Camden Market, East Street Market and Portobello Road Market. The most popular for food is Borough Market which sell most fresh produce as well as having a bakery.
Street markets in Greece are called laikes agores (λαϊκές αγορές) in plural, or λαϊκή αγορά (laiki agora) in singular, meaning "people's market". They are very common all over Greece, including the capital, Athens, and its suburbs. Regular (weekly) morning markets sell mostly fresh produce from farming cooperatives - fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers/plants. Some household items and prepared foods are often available.
Annual street markets (panigyri(a)) occur around churches on the day of their patron saint. These take place in the evenings and have a more festive character, often involving attractions and food stalls. The goods sold range from clothing and accessories to household items, furniture, toys and trinkets. Athens also has several bazaars/enclosed markets.
- See: markets in Hong Kong
Street markets in Hong Kong are held all the days except few traditional Chinese holidays like Chinese New Year. Stalls opened at two sides of a street were required to have licenses issued by the Hong Kong Government. In Hong Kong there are street markets of various kinds such as fresh foods, clothing, cooked foods, flowers, and even electronics. The earliest form of markets is known as Gaa si. Some of them are gradually being replaced by shopping centres, markets in municipal service buildings, and supermarkets, while some became tourist attractions like Tung Choi Street and Apliu Street.
North American countries
Street markets are called shortly pazar in Turkish and usually named after the name of the day since they are only installed at around 05:00 on that specific day and ended on same day around 18:00, in every week. Every district in Turkey has its own open market where people can choose and buy from a very wide range of products, from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothing, from traditional white cheese (which some people may consider feta-like) to household items. In Istanbul area Wednesday Pazar of Fatih district, Tuesday Pazar of Kadıköy and Friday Pazar of Ortaköy are the most famous and crowded open markets of the city.
- "The Economic Benefits of Farmers' Markets." Friends of the Earth. Accessed June 2011.