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Food truck owner on Grantham Market for 16 years says people in the town are ‘lucky’ to have it

The owner of a takeaway food truck has said the people of Grantham are “lucky” to have the market in town every weekend.

Tim Dawson, who runs TJ’s Food Wagon on markets in Grantham and Stamford with wife Julie, has praised the weekly service.

The food truck, which has been on Grantham Market for over 16 years, is being showcased as part of a Journal campaign to support the market.

Tim and Julie Dawson on TJ's Food Truck in Grantham Market.
Tim and Julie Dawson on TJ's Food Truck in Grantham Market.

Having started out 20 years ago cooking and selling paella at parties and events, Tim and Julie took over a slot on the market from her sister, who went abroad for work.

Tim said: “When they came back, they had it back but the other burger van in the market, which is where we are now, was thinking about leaving. We said we’d join them and took it over from them and that was that.”

He got the idea to sell paella from someone at Newark Continental Market, and the couple now sell their food every week on Grantham and Stamford’s markets.

Tim said: “I do like cooking and it’s about interaction with the general public.

“Grantham Market is a whole lot better than Stamford Market. People still come out to Grantham.

“Stamford has a lot of historical buildings, but so did Grantham if you look at the history books.

“In the 1960s it got ruined with town planning. People don’t come to have a look round in Grantham.”

Tim, who was born and raised in Grantham, described Stamford as “a browser’s market”, but called his home town “a buyer’s market”, where customers buy fresh essentials that cannot be bought from independent businesses on the high street.

He continued: “The high street used to have everything in there. Grantham people are quite lucky that they still have those things on a Saturday and I like to point this out to people when they come to the van.

“You get a lot of people saying “the market’s not what it used to be”. It’s not. We shop online. Everyone shops online.

“There’s lots of stalls that used to be on the market.

“The older generation that came down to get their clothes, bits and bobs on the market because they were cheap, they’ve probably gone now. The traders don’t come when their trade isn’t very good.”

Tim and Julie use fresh produce every week, including rolls from Watkin’s. They also deliver food into the nearby King’s Arms pub and cater for those who are gluten free.

Tim said: “Awareness is that big thing. I know places where the market is completely gone, like St Albans. It’s completely gone.

“The Grantham people are lucky. You’ve got pensioners who can get one steak or pork chop, which is a great choice for people who have limited choices.

“We have lots of regulars. A lot of people just come for a bit of a chat. We like to have a bit of a laugh and people like that. You can’t go into Asda and start chatting to folk because they’ve got stuff to do.

“We get some older customers, they bake us cakes. It’s quite a nice little community. I always like to ask them a quiz question!

“One big thing you’ll find with market people, they are really good with the public. I think that’s what people like about the market.”

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