Trader Spotlight – The Foam Place and Nets & Furnishings

October 1, 2014

Location: Unit 44B and Unit 44 (behind Cafe Bocca)

For over 30 years, Ash Bhimani has been one of Leicester Market’s most unique traders.

Adding to the special atmosphere created at Leicester Market, Mr. Bhimani’s product is one that you can ONLY purchase from him via his stall – foam, custom-sized for all of his customer’s needs – whether it be furnishings or accessories around the home.

Establishing a loyal customer base over the years, The Foam Place and partner company Nets & Furnishings has recently moved to a brand-new location behind Café Bocca.

We spoke to Mr. Bhimani about his extensive time at Leicester Market and what he feels keeps customers coming back for more…


How long have you been trading at Leicester Market?
I started trading here in 1981, 33 years; a long, long time. I am a local man and started trading with friends. We got a unit in the indoor market, where I was for all those years until June this year. The Market has always been good to us we have worked them hard. It’s paid off and we have very loyal customers; we have built up a very good customer clientele over the years. When we first started we only sold bed linen and have grown from there.

What do you think it is that keeps people coming back to you?
I think its relationships, it’s very important to keep them going and importantly the merchandise we sell, we are in a niche market; selling foam, there isn’t another place in Leicester that has a selection of what we do and sell. The variety we have speaks for itself. We also do custom cuts to however the customer wants. It is very important to keep our customers happy! Also price is a major factor; the customer only pays for what they take when it’s been cut to size. But most of all, I have to emphasise its loyalty that keeps people coming back.

What are your most popular products?
I definitely have to say the foam and the net curtains that we sell. We provide an extensive range of net curtains along with the foam and they sell well. We are loyal to the people that supply us and in the same way we are loyal to our customers it’s a chain that keeps going. Any discounts that suppliers give us we make sure we pass it on to our customers which definitely brings them back and sells the foam!

Do you supply to businesses?
No, we simply supply to customers that walk through the door; a lot of which is based on existing relationships that we have built along the way. We rely on loyalty and relationships and I’m pleased to say it works well for us.

How has the stall changed over the years?
Until recently, the stall didn’t change in a great way. However, when we had to give up the indoor market, it has had a big impact on our foam. Before we had a very good set up with a working bench and a cutting table which accommodated for the big sheets of foam that we get in. We don’t have that luxury now. The unit now is a lot smaller so we have had to work round it making changes to our ways and displays. On the good side here though, we actually get more people coming in. If we had 10 people coming through the door in the indoor market, we get 20 a day coming in here so it’s much better that way.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud that I can sell and that most of our customers leave smiling and part with their money! I have got a good team here and people that help me. That’s definitely something to be proud of.  We have a good relationship with all the traders around us too which works well for all of us.

Have you got messages to shoppers coming to visit Leicester Market and your stall?
Anyone coming to visit will certainly be amazed and won’t be disappointed! They definitely want to come and have a look at this new set-up with have right near the coffee shop in the outdoor market! We have a vast range of products from foam and net curtains, to bed linen and vinyl covering, with a service that nowhere else in Leicester can give.

The Foam Place and Nets & Furnishings trade Monday through to Saturday from Units 44 and 44B.