Making Great Local Markets
The market is one of the oldest forms of retailing, and the marketplace is the acorn from which many of today’s major town and city centres grew. It is increasingly the first step on an entrepreneurs ladder and a great place to test ideas before taking on the more permanent costs of bricks and mortar units.
A local market adds choice, colour, value and vibrancy to a town centre when done properly, and can attract and sustain increased footfall on market days to the benefit of surrounding shops and services. There are great examples of modern markets coming through in our town centres; Market Rasen won Best Social Enterprise Market, Borough Market was voted Best Market Attraction, with Chesterfield Indoor Market and Belfast's St George's Market winning their categories at the at the NABMA 2014 Awards. There are a myriad more working away in local centres such as Darlington, Liskeard, Poole and SEE3 all developing great markets that help draw new interest to their town centres.
There are a number of organisations such as the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) who can help with identifying new potential traders and help train existing ones. Your partnership can help re-invigorate a local market by:
supporting and promoting them (eg. Marketing, signage, logistical support)
ensuring a high quiality stall holder and customer service level – this may rest with a local authority officer
working in partnership with the markets to attract start-up businesses to trial their business idea which may grow on to be a stand alone success. NMTF First Pitch is a good starting point for those interested in this option
developing infrastructure such as toilets, card payment systems and refrigeration for fresh produce
ensuring traders are involved in decisions
Developing or refreshing a market takes time, new traders need to allow at least six months to get established, and the local partnership need to work alongside the market management to promote and drive footfall.
You can also get involved with Love Your Local Market, a celebration of the UK's market culture running throughout a two-week period every May. Check out the website for more details or follow the conversation on Twitter with #LYLM2014.