• Fri. May 24th, 2024

North East Connected

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Market offers Heaven on Earth for trader

Michael McIvor of Heaven on EarthMichael McIvor

Middlesbrough’s historic Dundas Indoor Market is offering Michael McIvor a future which seemed beyond him two years ago.

“I was going from job to job to support my family but they all kept ending and I became really downhearted.  I got to the stage where I didn’t want to think about the next week or even the next day,” said the 34-year-old who lives in North Ormesby.

But at his lowest point Michael decided he had to find a way to keep his mind busy and start looking forward.

The result was a business called Heaven on Earth which sells memorial items to help people remember and celebrate lost loved ones.

“It’s more than just a business – it’s my medicine,” said Michael, who has a long-standing interest in spiritualism.

“I was looking for something long-term and, as sad as it sounds, death is always going to be part of our lives.”

He started selling online and then his local Job Centre suggested he should contact Dundas Indoor Market Manager David Harris.

Michael began trading from a stall in the mall at Dundas before Christmas.  The reaction from customers was so positive from customers that he decided to take the next step and take on a unit in the market itself.

“David has been brilliant,” said Michael. “He’s been so supportive and doing everything possible to help me.”

That help includes insulation against spiralling energy costs.  All Dundas market traders

benefit from an all-inclusive deal which means their rent covers the cost of their energy as well as business rates and fibre broadband.

The price of a unit starts as low as £75 per week to help new tenants get their businesses up and running through the make-or-break early months.

Michael is being offered his unit on a month-to-month basis and private space is also being created to allow him to read Tarot cards for customers.

“He’s put his heart and soul into his business and he deserves all the assistance we can provide,” said David Harris.

“At this time of year lots of people are thinking about new beginnings and that can often mean starting their own business. I would love to hear from them if they are serious about becoming retailers.”

He added: “But even those with great ideas can be put off because they are worried about the responsibility and cost of being your own boss.  We’ve tried to take away some of the main concerns by offering this all-inclusive package to protect our traders.  They know they will be paying the same for the foreseeable future even if the price of energy rises and Government support is less forthcoming.”

Mr Harris has a proud record of supporting new businesses which have started life at the Dundas Indoor Market.  Around 100 have begun trading since he became the manager in 2015.

“Some – like LD Printing and Finishing Touches – have done so well that they’ve moved to bigger shops in the centre,” he said.  “While others, such as Jean’s Kitchen, Leigh’s Shoe Repairs, Alta Ego and C.A.M. Family Meats have become firm market favourites.”

By Lambert