Page 32 - MarketTimesDecember2019
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32 MARKET TIMES • DECEMBER 2019 The new family-friendly Christmas
market in the Salford media spotlight
  A NEW Christmas market currently pulling in the crowds in the heart of Salford’s MediaCityUK is aiming to start a new chapter in the success story of Yuletide markets in the UK — with a different look and a family-friendly theme.
And the man behind it is a larger- than-life German-born market trader and operator who was in the vanguard of market traders from abroad who set up stall in the very first German-style Christmas market held in the UK.
the DMH, and spotted an opportunity when the organisation received an official invitation from Manchester City Council to start a Christmas market in Manchester.
Christmas markets are a much- loved tradition in Germany, with their wooden huts, festive decorations and endless supplies of a Glühwein and Bratwurst.
But they had not caught on in the UK. Arnd said: “I was involved with UECA, the European organisation that was getting traders together from different countries to stage international markets. The first one was in Strasbourg.”
Arnd and his colleagues decided to take up Manchester’s invitation which was all the more enticing because the rent was free.
“I remember the first Christmas market in Manchester’s Albert Square in 2000,” he said. “I traded there selling German Glühwein.”
It wasn’t an instant success, but it wasn’t a failure either. “The traders didn’t do particularly well on that first market but we could see the potential,” Arnd said.
“As the days went by more and more people were coming.”
After the second year the traders were more confident of its success and on the third year it was a money maker.
The Christmas market experience and the potential Arnd saw for international markets and food festivals in the UK led him to move to the Manchester area to live in 2006.
Since then Christmas markets have become a big success story here with many big cities hosting them and international markets and food festivals are thriving too.
Arnd has stood and organised markets at many a food festival and events such as air shows. He does particularly well at military events because many in the armed services have a taste for German beer and sausages from their time stationed in Germany.
He decided to take it easy when he reached 60 three years ago but has continued to stand Manchester Christmas market where it all began for him.
Then this spring he met up with his brother in an eaterie on the main
Arnd sold beer and Bratwurst at Manchester’s Christmas market
  Arnd Baggen
Arnd Baggen’s life could have gone in a very different direction. Born in Bavaria, he initially went into his father’s equestrian business and was once a skilled horseman. He then went into the engineering business, married a Dutch woman and they decided to build their own home.
When his brother suggested he could make extra money to fund the building project by working on his market stalls at the weekend, Arnd took him up on the offer. And that was when the market trading bug bit.
“We were selling weather-proof material for tablecloths,” said Arnd. “I just loved the contact with people and the market trading life.”
Soon he was working every weekend and began looking at markets outside Bavaria as there are no weekday markets in his home area.
“I began selling hair accessories and I would think nothing of travelling long distances to a market if I felt it would be worth my while,” he said.
He moved into food and drink, became heavily involved in the German market traders federation,
piazza in the centre of Salford’s media city, home to the BBC and ITV.
“We just thought what a wonderful venue it was for a Christmas market, with the TV studios and so many smart apartment blocks overlooking the river,” Arnd said.
Never one to miss an opportunity, he was soon in negotiations with Intu and the first Christmas market is proving a big crowd pleaser after Arnd signed a five-year contract with Intu.
Young Traders Market 2019 overall winner Frankie Farrar has been trading at the Salford Christmas market
But it is a very different affair to other big Christmas markets. “I had seen Manchester become more challenging for traders, with rents rising and less footfall to go around as it expanded,” he said.
He also noticed that there was less emphasis on Christmas decorations, with some stands hardly bothering.
“My idea was to create a family- friendly Christmas market which is true to the Christmas spirit,” Arnd said.
He has ditched traditional wooden sheds in favour of pagoda-style gazebos and centre stage is a vast marquee with a seating area for 450 people. As well as Arnd’s
traditional German fare, people can choose from cuisine from all over the world including Sicilian fare, Moroccan food, Spanish paella and good old British fish and chips.
There is a giant polar bear and Santa has made it a must-visit attraction. Arnd has employed professional decorators who beautify the homes of football stars for Christmas, so the look is festive and magical.
“The main thing I wanted was to get families here,” Arnd said. “The entire market is fenced in with two security guards at the gate, so parents can feel their children are safe. We have high chairs, proper toilets behind the marquee and lots of things to keep children happy and safe.”
Arnd is working with the NMTF to help promote young traders and as well as giving the NMTF a free promotional stall, he is hosting a number of the stand-out young traders from the Young Traders Market, the final of which was featured on the BBC’s The One Show.
“As a market trader for many years, I understand markets, what makes them work and the need to ensure that market traders can make a good living at an event, because otherwise you won’t have an event.”
The new Christmas market has attracted a lot of media attention and, with so many broadcasters overlooking the market, it will never be short of media coverage.
“Like any similar event, it will take time to build up, but the potential is there for a different kind of family Christmas market,” Arnd said.
Traders interested in taking part
in next year’s event can contact Arnd on 07527 342331, email

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