Whitecross Street and Chapel Market stallholders Serpil Erce and Dave Jackson crowned Islington's traders of the year
PUBLISHED: 10:56 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:27 01 February 2018
2017 Steve Bainbridge
Providing healthy food options has proved to the magic ingredient for street traders Serpil Erce and Dave Jackson – who have jointly won the title of Market Trader of the Year 2017.
Serpil, whose Sunny Olive Tree stall is in Whitecross Street, and Dave, who trades fruit and veg in Chapel Market, were crowned following a council campaign to collect shoppers’ votes.
Street food trader Serpil won the takeaway food category while Dave won in the general market goods field.
“I was over the moon,” Serpil told the Gazette. “We couldn’t have done this without our customers because they nominated us. It’s a really good feeling.”
Serpil has been serving healthy Mediterranean food in Whitecross Street for 10 years, having set up the business in 2001 at Leather Lane Market. At first, she and her team served fruit, nuts, olives and dried tomatoes. They then started making Greek salad, and saw there was a demand for healthy food. She now puts her success down to offering lighter vegetarian takeaway options.
But there’s a lot of competition on the market. Food stalls serve Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Brazilian, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as hog roast and pie.
Serpil added: “I love everything about Whitecross Street.
“Everything is fantastic – the customers and the traders. They all help each other. It’s like a family atmosphere.”
Dave, meanwhile, is no stranger to the Gazette’s pages: the veteran fruit and veg seller, who still grows some of his stock on his own allotment, has been on Chapel Market for 45 years.
"I love everything about Whitecross Street. It’s like a family atmosphere."
Shopper Rob Walters nominated Dave, calling him “a nice guy who is pleasant and always cheerful”.
Annie Denny, who nominated Serpil, said it was because of her “service with a smile, and healthy food that gets us to eat our five-a-day”. Both get £50 to spend at the stalls they picked – which is a lot of vegetables.
Stephane Barette, who runs Whitecross Coffee at Whitecross Street, and Jeffrey Heller, who has a clothes stall at Chapel Market, were highly commended by the council’s judges too.
Islington’s business boss Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “It just goes to prove that Islington’s markets are treasured by many people and are great places to visit and shop.”