Market manager Roi Mengelgrein hopes to make Tooting the next Camden

Streatham Guardian: Marina Barker with one of her designs Marina Barker with one of her designs

New traders are moving into a popular market following the closure of a community cafe.

Since April, Tooting Market, in Tooting High Street, has undergone major changes with community café Brick Box leaving the venue.

Café owners said they were unable to continue as funding from the Outer London Fund stopped, and have moved to another project in Brixton instead.

But this has not deterred market manager Roi Mengelgrein whose dream is to make the market the next Camden Market, and he has been inundated with requests from potential traders.

And efforts are now going into hosting events in the market to attract new customers, with food festival Foodival taking place this weekend.

He said: "It is always going to be work in progress, more than half of the units are in line with the vision.

"As people leave they will be replaced, I am not here to completely change the market but here to improve it."

Mr Mengelgrein has split the former café up into three units, while the doors have been re-designed to open up the space and encourage customers.

New trader Ivone Costa is already operating her upholstery business Do it from Scratch or Recycle in the space, while second-hand shop Bindlesticks is set to open soon.

Further additions include Mauritius food restaurant Mange Des Isles, a hairdressers and the expansion of a Portuguese deli into a café and shop.

Marina Barker, owner of fancy dress shop and alterations service Mischief N Mayhem, moved to the market from Merton Abbey Mills.

She said: "I've been here three months, business is better. It is up-and-coming and it looks like Camden, I thought it could work."

There are plans for Halloween celebrations, an antiques event and a Christmas party for the stall holders.

Mr Mengelgrein said: "We are getting a lot of publicity for hosting the events. People need to know something new is happening in the community of Tooting."

Visit tootingmarket.com

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