Well the day of the very first Totally Locally Market in Brighouse was an astonishing success! The day dawned sunny (if not a little windy) and everyone was a little bit tentative while setting up. The main worry – would anyone actually turn up?!?
But turn up they did – in their droves! From 9 o’clock onwards the only worry people had was were they going to have enough stuff to sell! There were 27 stalls, selling everything from cheese to chocolate, locally reared meat to artisan bread, paintings to hand made toys, Pakistani & vegan food to plants and coffee. And everything was from a 30 mile radius of Brighouse (that’s the official definition of ‘local’).
If you think Brighouse hasn’t had a street market for many, many years, and the fact that there were many people who said “it will be a flop, no one wants this”, it’s a credit to all involved and all who turned up to support it. It also shows that people want something different and different ways of shopping (we had a lot of scathing comments about one particular supermarket in particular – we’ll leave you to guess which one!).
It’s hard to describe the buzz, but it really had the feel of a manic continental market in the sun.
Pexteniment cheese ran out of stock at 12 oclock (we were open until 3!), and he had brough 2 1/2 times what he would normally bring to a market like this. Villa Farm Shop had to go back to their farm four times to fill their huge van – luckily it was only a couple of miles away, and Hartleys bakery restocked their stall three times from their bakery around the corner, and had to then go to their Huddersfield shop to get more!
There’s loads more anecdotes like this, but the bit that we liked the most i that the shops of the town also benefitted tremendously. Parfitts Bakery said they had never has a Saturday like it & Custance Butchers (who ran a barbecue at the side of the shop) said they were thrilled with the day. Even Czerwicks, who said he thought he may be down on sales, as the market was selling similar things to them, said they had a fantastic days takings!
A lot of this was down to a map of shops and their offers of the day produced by Lesley and her team. There was 2 for 1 offers, free wine & beer tastings, and 20% offs etc. The whole town got behind it and when everyone works together, good things happen.
Funny bit as well – a lot of people parked in the Tescos car park, then crossed over the main road to the market. This has caused a bit of trouble with the local authorities who at first said the market would not be able happen again as “too many people went! The pedestrian crossing across the road was so busy it caused big traffic delays”. When the amazing press coverage and overwhelming support from the public happened a week later they swiftly changed their mind!
So here is a great example of how to drive people to your town centre. A small group of dedicated people with the support of the shop owners of the town, working together daring to push a little bit harder to get things done. With a bit of passion, support and willpower from the shops, local press and people of the town, one event like this can really start people re-thinking their towns.. And you know why it’s that easy? Because they already want to love where they live – they just need something to point at!. Add some good publicity beforehand (and a little Totally Locally magic) and watch it fly.
The Best bit? Everybody wins – the market stalls, the local shops, the town itself and the people who live there. If you want to run a Totally Locally market in your town give us a shout. We’ll help you throughh the pitfalls and give you all the marketing material for free (because we’re nice like that!).
The star of the show however was Lesley Adams of Simply Flowers, who was the driving force to getting the whole thing done. She had lots of hassle, but kept on going, just because she wanted to see her town buzzing. People like Lesley make a huge difference.
Next Market in Brighouse – By popular Demand (that sounds good doesn’t it!) 27th August.
A BIG thanks to Lesley, Brighouse Business Initiative, Buy It In Brighouse and John Walker & his team at Calderdale Markets. See you all soon!