Perth businesses and customers have rallied to mark the end of an era as Martin’s Fruit Bazaar on South Methven Street closed its doors for the final time this week.
Family of Peter Martin, the last in a long chain of family members who have kept the traditional city centre green grocers going for over 100 years, announced earlier this week that he was sadly suffering from ill health and had been admitted to hospital.
On Tuesday, June 13, a statement from daughter Emma and son Iain said: “Unfortunately, a decision has been reached whereby Martin’s Fruit Bazaar will close the doors for the final time this week.
“Dad remains in hospital and will require lots of time and rest to build up his strength again, which unfortunately the fruit and veg business does not lend itself to.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our wonderful and loyal customers for their custom over the years. Thank you all from the Martin family.”
Peter began working at the fruit and veg shop as a school boy in 1971.
The well established local family business supplied homes and businesses across the city for many generations with the closure leaving a hugh void.
Local history writer Ken Bruce said: “Everyone in Perth knew and loved Martin’s Bazaar in South Methven Street.”
Customer and friend, businessan Pete Chan of China China, said: “Very sad to learn of our family friend and supplier, Peter Martin, was taken unwell over the weekend and that Martin’s Fruit Bazaar will close its doors for the final time today.
“For two decades, Peter has kept my own kitchen and business running.
“I made countless demanding phone calls and Peter would always arrive to save the day.
“I’m sure he’s ‘saved the day’ for hundreds of others, over his many years of service.
“I’m going to miss picking up the phone and having someone that I could really rely on no matter what time of day or whatever the weather.
“I’ll miss my annual Christmas wreath and my mum will miss her birthday fruit basket which Peter would generously gift to us, every year without fail.
“All those early morning drives to the markets in Glasgow just to source the best produce for our kitchens.
“Martin’s Fruit Bazaar has been as much of my childhood, as it has as an adult.
“I still remember Peter’s father gifting me the odd piece of fruit, as my mother and I walked past. That’s forty odd years ago!”
Pete added: “You have been a hard-working servant to countless businesses and people in Perth and surrounding areas over the years.
“Many folks living on their own wouldn’t have even have had fresh fruit if not for you during the ‘lockdowns’ and many you even gifted for free.
“Keep strong Peter, my friend. Get well soon.”
Just 100 yards away at 202 High Street, George Sinclair said the closure was a huge loss to his cafe, Effie’s of Perth.
“In the 12 years we’ve had our family business here, having a supplier so near was the height of handiness,” he said.
“That Martin’s Fruit Bazaar has had to close is a big loss. If there was anything we needed, Peter got it for us. We used him to source all our vegetables.
“And we do lots of private functions.
“Peter was at Glasgow Fruit Market three times a week, so anything special, however unusual, he could get it.
“Martin’s Fruit Bazaar was the last of its kind in the town.”
Historian Ken Bruce said of the Martins: “This to me is an old Perth family, we all originated from the town, my family from Spey Court and Scott Street.
“Nearly everyone after the war moved out to the new housing estates, like Muirton and Letham. This family stayed in the town and has served the Perth public for many generations, everyone in Perth knew and loved Martin’s Bazaar in South Methven Street.”
When the shop marked 100 years of business in 2019, Peter revealed: “Since I was at the school, I used to work here on Saturdays and after school.
“When I left school, I came to work here full time and I have been here ever since. It was my granny and grandfather who started it on the Old High Street with a horse and cart.
“They then had a small shop there, and moved down here to South Methven Street in 1931 and for a while had two shops running at the one time.
“It is amazing for the shop to all be in the one family - some places change hands and have different people running them, so it is unusual to have an independent business all in the one family.”
Peter had been looking to retire and sell the business and premises but the recent turn of events sped up the shop’s closure.
The open-shelved shop allowed close inspection of the produce and was a place where, for a few short weeks, bitter Seville oranges appeared for ‘real’ marmalade makers.
Customer Gail Collington voiced her regret the shop would be no more. “Thank you Peter for everything you have brought to Perth,” she said. “Not just a wonderful fruit and veg shop but you were a friend to everyone.
“I will miss our chats. Get well and hope to see you up and about soon.”
Emilie Goniaux sent best wishes to Peter: “Thinking of you. Your shop was an asset in Perth. Your boxes kept us going through Covid times.”