15 Minutes With… The Exeter Trading Hub
One Mag’s Bruce Hetherington meets Elke Meredith-Church, the driving force behind the Exeter Trading Hub supporting local businesses in the community.
“I wish people would stop telling me how brave I am in starting the Exeter Trading Hub,” says Elke Meredith-Church, “it makes me feel like I’m doing something crazy!”
However with a waiting list of potential tenants looking for space to trade their wares in the Hub running to four pages long, Elke’s clearly the opposite. Brave, yes, but she’s also a visionary who used the time off over lockdown to completely overhaul the Marsh Barton site.
In her former life Elke was a London based professional working for TalkSport, who always harboured a dream to have her own shop selling upcycled and retro items. When the time was right she and her family made the move to the Southwest.
Elke’s motivation for launching the Hub is more than purely commercial, she wants to support community and local businesses as much as possible. When the lease came up in early 2020 she took it on. And then the pandemic…which she put to good use.
“We completely refurbished the building and the site – renovating, gutting, cleaning, replacing doors and windows, and when the last lockdown came in December we used that time to clear the outside yard for weekend markets, and to set up some outside seating for the coffee shop which has opened upstairs,”
There are now over 50 stall holders inside the Hub offering what Elke describes as an eclectic mix of items that range from everyday useful to the weird and wonderful. When pushed to name her top three she point blank couldn’t: “They are all wonderful – you have to come and see for yourselves.”
Elke is particularly proud of those tenants who are using their space in the Hub to bounce back from a pandemic setback, and cites the Thrifty Stylist who occupy their own room now in the Hub. The founders were both made redundant last year, and that gave them the impetus to follow their dream of making their own furniture and interior products.
“They are flying now – it is great to see,” Elke says.
The Exeter Trading Hub can be found at 16 Marsh Green Road, Marsh Barton, Exeter or follow them on Facebook to see the latest going on inside, and out.
See more like this
This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum