My article this week takes us 18 miles east of Chester, to the characterful streets of Northwich. Despite it’s unique architecture, Northwich has suffered from a lack of footfall as the impact of online and out-of-town shopping has sucked trade away from the town centre. Like many struggling towns, it soon became clear that Northwich needed to start providing a more diverse and special offer, in order to attract more shoppers and visitors to the town centre.

To solve this problem, the Artisan Market was brought to Northwich by The Market Co., bringing a diverse mix of locally sourced products and an exceptional variety of goods to the streets of Northwich every month. Since it’s launch, The Artisan Market has become an award-winning event through delivering a dynamic offer not only in Northwich, but in Wilmslow, Chesterfield and Buxton as well.

The Market Co. soon decided that they wanted to find a way to engage with a younger generation of traders and shoppers, so they teamed up with Northwich’s BID and myself to bring The Teenage Market to the town centre. The Teenage Market events have proven a real hit in Northwich, with lots of young people signing-up to benefit from the opportunity to trade and perform.

Denise Valente, who runs both the Artisan Market and the Northwich Teenage Market, told me thatto witness the transformation that takes place over just a few hours is quite remarkable. We often see nervous and tentative teenagers embark on an anxious journey at the start of the day, before transforming with bubbling exuberance and excitement into the entrepreneurs and artists of the future.

Hazel Miller, a 17 year old student from South Cheshire College who makes alternative jewellery, is just one of the young traders who have been supported through these events. She told me that the events have been essential in helping her set-up in business. She said,Teenage Markets are an inspiring and wonderful event to be a part of, giving young people the chance to make their own way and show off their talent. I can’t think what I would do without them.

The success of both the Artisan Market and Teenage Market in Northwich has shown that providing a specialist offer is key to making our town centres successful, both for the local economy and for the local community.

Joe Barratt

Co-Founder, The Teenage Market

If you would like to contact Joe about setting up a Teenage Market in your town or city please email him at