Ali outside his market stall

On a bright but chilly Wednesday morning, I ventured out to Aylesbury’s bustling Market Square to visit Ali, who has been hardworking and lucky enough to earn himself his very own spot on the High Street. Ali is the owner of a mobile phone accessory company and has been trading every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for a staggering 13 years! His well-deserved move into the former British Heart Foundation shop (16-18 High Street) is a big and exciting step for the popular market trader, who has just reviewed the refurbished premises and signed the papers to confirm his 5 year lease, officially making him a shop owner! Well done Ali!

“My Aylesbury Market journey began back in the Summer of 2006, when I was at Middlesex University studying Business – what other subject would it be?! Although I was living in London, I was already dedicated enough to be working in Aylesbury at my boss’ stall. I got a lift with him every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, all the way from Walthamstow. It’s a long way to come but I decided the drive was my boss’ choice so his problem!

As you can probably tell, I buy and sell second hand phones, giving them some much needed TLC and eventually a new home. I also sell phone cases for every model going – one of my mantras is ‘the more you have the more you sell’! My most popular services are mobile phone unlocking and repairs. It’s great to make money, but I do also like the routine of being a market trader and serving all sorts of different people. I’m in a really good spot as well so we get lots of passersby.

I have to admit that I’m mostly looking forward to the warmth of my new shop! But it’s also the longer business hours and the fact that we’ll have better services for customers, like having a card machine so they can get top ups. Even the small things like replenishing stock will be easier. Out here it’s harder to know what you’ve got when it’s tucked up behind the stall. In a shop all our stock will be laid out so we know exactly what to re-order.

I’ll miss the hard work of market life, but obviously I can’t let go as you’ll still see me on a Friday and Saturday at my usual spot. I’m looking to expand my team to keep on top of it all, so have two people in the shop whilst I maintain the stall. What I would say to anyone who’s thinking of getting a stall is to be patient and persevere when things get tough. And most importantly get online. I wish I’d done this much earlier. Get a website and social media, so Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let people know you’re out there and you’ll get people coming straight to you as well as people who happen to walk by and notice your stall.”

A steady flow of customers was starting to build up, so we left them in Ali’s capable hands, but not before we took the above picture of him at his stall. It was taken on an iPhone 7 plus, which he instantly recognised just by looking at the camera – this guy knows his stuff. Make sure to check out Ali’s stall (and his keen eye!) for yourself, and pay a visit to his shop when it opens to keep your mobile in tip-top shape.