The first Wednesday opening at Accrington Market Hall has been hailed a success, after traders finally signed leases introducing a six-day week.
Unhappy stallholders took the council right down to the wire, with several contracts remaining unsigned right up to the October 1 deadline.
But markets chief Councillor Marlene Haworth stood firm over the three-month trial, and fears of a mass exodus proved unfounded.
The council will enforce Wednesday opening for the duration of the trial, following the hall’s £2m refurbishment.
At its launch this week, celebrity chef Aldo Zilli gave free cookery demonstrations and other attractions included face painting and music. The first day’s events seemed to go down well with shoppers in the bustling hall.
Aldo told the Observer: "The stallholders here have a lot of good things to show off and now they are open six days the people of Accrington will benefit. The hall is full of people so there is obviously a hunger for stalls to be open."
Shopper Caroline Higson, 56, from Accrington, said: "I think it’s a brilliant idea the market being open on a Wednesday, although I don’t think the traders should be forced into it.
"But with the new Tesco opening they don’t want to lose business to the bigger stores."
Dave Foot, from Oswaldtwistle, said: "I think it being open will provide a boost to the rest of the town as people will not only come to the market stall, but to the surrounding shops too."
The response from traders was more mixed, but many said they were willing to give it a go.
Steve Hayman, owner of Slacks Farm Butchers, said: "It’s the first day and you have to give it a try considering the money the council has put into the set up.
"We need to give it a try out of curiosity and also so we don’t lose any trade when the new Tesco opens in November.
"It’s not presented me with any problems as luckily I have the staff to handle the extra days trading. I do feel sorry for the one-man-band traders but that’s the way it is."
One-man trader John Healey, owner of the Fairbrothers stall, says opening an extra day will greatly affect him. He said: "It will be very hard for me as Wednesday is normally the day I collected and manage my new stock.
"I had to be up very early this morning to collect my delivery and I will be working throughout the day to manage the stall."
Andrew Lund, owner of the Sweet Shop, believes that making people aware of Wednesday trading is now the biggest challenge. He said: "I have never had a problem giving it a trial and I hope it works.
"For me the biggest obstacle will be to put Wednesday trading in people’s minds and not let them forget about it."
Next Wednesday, October 13 former Coronation Street star Sean Wilson will be hosting cheese and wine tasting at the market hall.
A relieved Councillor Haworth said: "Hooray, Accrington is open for business. We have to move on now from the aggravation and negativity. I am very pleased with the way it has gone. While it may not be massive amounts of money, trading is better than not trading."
She added: "We need to keep the momentum going for next week and I implore the people of Hyndburn to help make this work."