Warrington Market stallholder Rob Leicester named Young Trader of the Year
A NINETEEN-year-old Warrington Market stallholder has been named the country's best young trader.
Rob Leicester, who runs the Warrington Fruit and Veg stall, has been crowned Young Trader of the Year 2018 by the National Market Traders' Federation.
The greengrocer scooped the prize after being selected as the overall best trader at the National Youth Market, which was held over two days in Stratford-upon-Avon last weekend.
Thirty young entrepreneurs, aged between 16 and 30, from across the country descended on the street market after qualifying through regional heats earlier this year.
Greengrocer Rob, from Latchford, said: "I'm very pleased with the award.
"There were three judges going around the market posing as members of the public.
"They were looking for presentation, stock, knowledge and customer service skills.
"It was quite a competition - there were some really good young traders there from all around the country."
The former Sir Thomas Boteler CE High School pupil is carrying on the family tradition of working on the markets, with his dad and cousin - both called Andrew - running the neighbouring Andrew's Fish Game and Poultry stall.
In 2010, the latter was named the BBC's Young Fishmonger of the Year.
Rob set up his own stall on the market in June last year.
He added: "I worked for my dad for four years from when I was 14, then the fruit and veg stall left the market.
"That left the market short of a greengrocer, and we decided to do it on a temporary basis.
"My plan was always to join the army this year, but we moved into the temporary market a year ago and I started to enjoy it.
"Three months later I decided I wanted to carry it on."
Rob's dedication saw him start the first day of the street market at 1am, heading into Manchester to buy produce before travelling down to the west Midlands and working until nearly 8pm.
He then began work again at 6.30am the following day.
Joe Harrison, chief executive of the National Market Traders' Federation, said: "It was a tough competition, but Robert beat traders from across the country to take the crown.
"Judges were impressed with his professionalism, enthusiasm and customer service skills.
"They were thrilled to learn that he had brought the same offer from his stall at Warrington Market - quality produce at affordable prices.
"With young people like Robert trading on traditional retail markets, I am confident that our sector will not only survive but flourish.
"He is an inspiration to people who want to turn passion into a profit and be their own boss."