Introducing New Markets

Developing a new market, whether this is a general mid-week offering or a speciality themed event once a month, could provide your town centre with a real gem and focal point for activity.

The UK is now home to a growing selection of farmers, craft, artisan, ethnic, continental and other specialist markets which add colour to the high street. Some are regular while others are one off special events; some are locally generated and others like continental markets travel from town to town. Introducing new, well managed niche and specialist markets adds an extra dimension to your retail offer to attract a wider and different catchment of consumers.

There are a number of travelling continental style markets who you can contact and invite to spend a few days in your town. They will want to know about the demographics of your town and potentially visit to view the space and facilities available before committing and many are booked up twelve months in advance. They will look to the local partnership to support their visit with publicity and a bit of fanfare.

If you want to start a new home grown specialist market it may be wise to start by looking at the types and success of markets in neighbouring towns so that you can target a niche that is not already catered for. Once you have decided on the category, say an artisan market, a good place to start is a local organisation of producers – if you can secure a group booking for stalls from say, a high quality local arts and crafts group, you have something to build on.

Getting the location for your market right is important. A balance needs to be struck between ensuring a good level of trade for the stall holders and congestion in the core retail area. The location of new markets can be used to bring footfall to areas of the town centre that do not traditionally get as many visitors, enticing people to explore the offer off the beaten track. This could make better use of public spaces in areas outside of the retail core that do not receive the same footfall levels as more prominent locations. Don’t forget to provide somewhere for the traders to park their vehicles nearby as they may need access for stock. Wherever you put your new market a licence from the local authority will be required and it is important to consult and inform nearby businesses before they read about it in the local press.