The Great British Market Awards 2018

I hope that markets up and down the country have been putting their thinking caps on and are putting fingers to keyboard to compose their applications for next year’s GB Market Awards, or are hitting the voting button for Britain’s Favourite Market.

The NABMA Awards are once again generously sponsored by KPR Midlink Ltd, and we are very grateful for the support of MTN and its very own Kirsty Flatt with the judging this year.

Before we turn to the 2018 Awards, I thought it would be worth revisiting the 2017 winners and looking at all the things that they did to win last year.

2017 Winners:

Best Love Your Local Market Event: Cambridge General and Sunday Market

Cambridge offered dozens of free places for local charities to trade throughout the LYLM fortnight in 2016, including a youth market and promoted what they were doing securing over 49,000 Twitter impressions during the 2016 campaign. They advertised on local buses and ran a classic car rally in the city centre which brought in huge numbers of visitors.

Best Large Indoor Market: Burnley Market Hall

Burnley markets were facing dropping occupancy rates and brought forward a number of successful initiatives to retain and develop the businesses of existing traders, and to bring in new traders. They introduced an incentive package for existing traders, including rent reductions and small grants, and professional assistance with social media and in-house promotion for traders. In September 2014 occupancy rates stood at 64% but had risen to 89% by the end of 2017

Best Small Indoor Market: Tooting Market

Tooting market in busy south London has opened its doors to the local community, encouraging new small businesses to trade in the market at very reasonably priced rates – for as little as £40 per week. The traders are offered business advice and social media support, and the market is now buzzing with a very wide variety of traders and restaurants.

Best Large Outdoor Market: Loughborough Retail Markets

Loughborough Market dates back to 1221 and offers a programme of weekly markets throughout the town which are a major part of the retail offer of the town. They offer a “Try A Trade” scheme to encourage new traders and they manage their own social media sites. It works closely with the traders to increase footfall through innovative ideas, for example the “Guess the Weight of the Christmas Pudding“ competition which got 700 entries in 6 days. The market works closely with the BID and university and colleges.

Best Small Outdoor Market: Skipton Market

Skipton market took over control of the land on which traders had their stalls which was owned by individuals so that the Council now has control and is able to support the market to prosper and grow. The council has also made good use of the town’s Ambassadors to encourage local people and the many visitors the popular town receives over the year to visit the market.

Best Large Community Market: Salisbury Charter Market

Salisbury updated their rules and regulations to encourage new traders to join the existing market in the city centre which was in decline. Introducing regular trader price agreements for the first three months and working with the City Council to promote the market offer on social media to attract a younger audience. They were also planning a wholesale market promotion for local businesses to buy their goods.

Best Small Community / Parish Market: Forest Row Village Market

Working closely with the local Business Forum, Forest Row market meets once a month and offers one business a free stall to a local business to showcase local produce. They have also offered a Loyalty Scheme for traders to encourage repeat business. They regularly go live at the market on Facebook and join in many social media platforms.

Best Large Speciality Market: Exeter Christmas Market.

Market Place managed to deliver a bigger and better Christmas market despite the devastating fire that took place in the historic Cathedral grounds just before the market was due to open, which meant that Market Place had to redesign and relocate 30% of the planned market. The market took place as planned and in fact, saw an increase in footfall of half a million people on the previous year.

Best Small Speciality Market: Bridgnorth Christmas Lighting Up Event

The Christmas Lighting Up Event is now the largest activity on the Bridgnorth high street each year, drawing in thousands of visitors from a wide area. The core activity on the night is based around the long market tradition of the town and the evening promotes many local market traders, local arts and crafts and specialty food and drink. It is delivered by the Bridgnorth Town Council and Community Events Working Party. The event has a very limited budget and is reliant on self-funding.

Best Wholesale Market: New Smithfield Wholesale Market, Manchester

Manchester Markets is creating a new identity of a modern day innovative market fit for 21st century trading, which includes a brand new fish market. They are attracting new traders through incentives and supports all traders through social media. They also supported one café business to create a Supper Club which uses produce from the market to deliver amazing food that attracts local foodies and food bloggers. “Live After 5” street food and markets on the site on a Saturday and a Sunday market is bringing the market to the attention of the local community, attracting 10,000 visitors per operation.

Best Food Market: Bolton Food and Drink Festival

Bolton markets work closely with the town centre management group and local businesses to improve and increase visitors to Bolton, and the Bolton Food and Drink festival is now in its 12th year in 2017. It has proved incredibly popular with footfall of 260,000 over four days in 2016, bringing top class celebrity chefs and 180 food related traders from across the UK together at the heart of Bolton for four days over the August Bank Holiday.

Best Market Attraction: St. George’s Market, Belfast

St George’s market operates each Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a different emphasis each day. It supports local business start-ups and is meeting the needs of the city and surrounding area with many loyal customers – 21,000 customers each week. It has extended its offer to run some very successful Twilight markets. It has tapped into the growing number of tourists – welcoming over one million visitors during 2016.

Britain’s Favourite Market: Leeds Kirkgate Market

Leeds Kirkgate is one of the largest indoor markets in Europe and has been at the heart of the Leeds retail scene since 1857. It has recently benefitted from a multi-million pound refurbishment and has a lively programme of events and a regular speciality markets throughout the year. It also offers an outdoor market of over 200 stalls, six days a week. Leeds came out on top of the on-line vote which polled over 100,000 votes.

The 2018 Awards

This year, after listening to your feedback, we have slightly tweaked the competition to make it easier to enter, and to ensure that our wonderful Christmas Markets and attractions can now be entered.

Attached is a flyer with details of competitions and closing dates for entries. There are opportunities for all our members to enter one or more categories.

We are all proud of our markets and the impact that they make to town, city and local community life. Your entries will help us spread the word about the importance of markets both nationally and locally.

The details….

As a reminder, the majority of competition categories have a closing date of 30th November 2017. This is earlier than normal following your feedback that this should not coincide with the busy Christmas period.

The categories of Best Market Attraction and Best Speciality Market only close on 31 December 2017 to enable Christmas activities to be entered.

For the Favourite Market category there is a new application process and criteria for this prestigious award.

Stage 1.  As already announced, voting for Britain’s Favourite Market is also now underway and will run until 11.59 pm on 30 November 2017. The voting icon is on the NABMA website  Anyone can apply and you simply need to put in the name of your favourite market.

Stage 2.  On the 4th December the six markets that have received the most votes will be announced and will then be carried over to the next phase of the judging process. The number of votes received will not count towards the next assessment phase set out below.

Stage 3. These six places will then each receive a prearranged visit from representatives from the Judges panel before Christmas. During their visits the Judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • stall vacancy rates on the market;
  • how the market promotes itself;
  • how the market meets the needs of the local community;
  • the vibrancy of the market.

Stage 4.  Separately on a different day, a “mystery shopper” visit will be undertaken to see why customers like the market and why traders want to trade on it.

Britain’s Favourite Market is influenced online by the people who come to your markets. This is a huge PR opportunity with local press releases to encourage shoppers to vote for their local market. Do get them involved from today.
I look forward to your support for the Great British Market Awards 2018 and making them the best supported in the history of the competition.