Love Your Local Market is a fortnights celebration of our market scene and culture that takes place in May. This year’s fortnight is 13 – 27 May. Keep an eye on our latest news page to see what great things we’ve got planned at Wyre’s markets to celebrate.
As part of Love Your Local Market 2013, Fleetwood Market took part in the First Pitch initiative.
Potential stall holders were encouraged to set up a new business with a month’s free rent, mentoring support and then discounted rent for 12 months if they were accepted on to the National Market Traders Federation scheme.
Time to learn more about some of the nine stallholders who accepted the invitation:
This is the first time in six years that Fleetwood Market has boasted a fish stall.
Cath Sperrin is a familiar face at the market having spent many years helping out on stalls when people were away. She was considering setting up one of her own when she heard about First Pitch and it was the traders themselves who suggested she sell fish.
It made perfect sense seeing as how her father had been a Fleetwood trawlerman and she often went out to sea with him. With a mother who was creative with whatever catch of the day was brought back, Cath can also pass on cooking tips to her customers.
She runs the stall with partner Tony Lindsay and they have linked up with an established dockside supplier so the fish is as fresh as it can be. Meal deals are a speciality for families with differing tastes and the other traders are enjoying buying the catch on Fish Friday so there should still be good business during the quieter winter months.
Cath says: “First Pitch is a brilliant idea. It has given us a chance to test the water, while the discounted rent has really helped.”
Something of a career change for Shelley Dixon, who until very recently worked as a nursery nurse.
A lover of all things hand crafted, Shelley caught the bug for selling after taking part in very occasional craft fairs. First Pitch gave her the push she needed to take the plunge full time. So she quit her job and just a week later was serving her first customers.
Her stall is a haven of pretty and unsual hand-made gifts. Think jute quote cushions and bags, soft toys made from patchwork fabrics, bookmarks from recycled plywood and charming bookends.
She also makes her own gift baskets of hand-made soaps, cupcake flannels and the like. She is already looking towards the future, thinking about the type of things she can make herself to add something a little bit different.
Shelley said: “I love looking at stuff and seeing what I can turn it into. The first few weeks here have gone really well and I’m enjoying the change.
“Without the support from First Pitch, I would have been scared to do this. Any help is invaluable when you’re just starting out. You can do as much market research as you want but nothing is more valuable than getting on and doing it.”
When Simon Noble was made redundant from his job as a food safety manager, he decided to invest his money in a totally new direction.
He and wife Jeanette had been thinking about a market stall for a number of years. They even got as far as doing a recce of what was already sold on Fleetwood Market and having conversations with the Market Manager.
When First Pitch came along it seemed the ideal opportunity to give it a go, so after looking for a product that was transportable to allow them to make full use of the tourist trade, they discovered a real demand for quirky and decorative soaps.
Their stall offers some very eye-catching products, from fruity shower sponges with the soap built in, to slices of dessert and cupcakes that look so real they come with a do not eat warning.
Getting out there and trying it has helped the pair very quickly become atuned to what customers want.
Simon says: “You learn on the fly. Some things sell better than others and we’ve had to adjust some prices. We’ve also had to find children’s products that are suitable for sensitive skin, but we’re enjoying it .
“There’s nothing difficult about it and you’re working for yourself – what could be better than that?”