Page 44 - MarketTimesJune2014
P. 44

Market Times • June 2014
Birmingham Rag wins ‘battle of the branches’
 POP-UP market stalls in big council offices to provide a taster of what the local market has to offer. Promotions and chatter about the market on social media, and free coverage of market events in newspapers and radios. Fundraisers to support themed events that bring new customers into the market.
These were just some examples of the great work being carried out by hardworking NMTF branches, as revealed in a competition staged following the AGM to find the federation’s most active branch.
Five branches took part — Belfast, Birmingham, Bury St Edmunds, Coventry and Stockport.
Birmingham Rag triumphed, winning the first prize of £1,500 towards branch funds. Bury St Edmunds won the £1,000 second prize and Belfast was third, winning £500 for their branch.
Batting for Belfast, Alice McGuinness said Belfast had a strong, hardworking branch driven by Executive Board Member Paddy Lynn who was chairman from 1998 to 2011.
They organised a programme of events, a Christmas raffle and market, a trader of the day competition and charity fundraisers.
Flying the flag for Birmingham Rag branch, chairman Paul Larkin
said the branch committee comprised 14 experienced traders who had decided to rebrand their market.
They came up with the slogan ‘Love Your Bull Ring Markets’, with an emblem of a heart made up of different market lines — from fruit and veg, to a crab.
They promoted the market through Facebook and Twitter, including giving details of events and a daily fish recipe. The branch organised themed days and negotiated a freeze in rents in exchange for traders signing up to pay their rent by direct debit.
It took the branch 18 months to negotiate to get the buses back to stops near the market. And they persuaded the council to have pop-up ‘sampler’ stalls in the public area of large central council offices.
These feature niche lines of products only available on markets, with the aim of getting council workers returning to the market to make purchases such as haberdashery.
Paul said they estimated that the pop-up initiative had increased the market footfall by 20 per cent.
Promoting Bury St Edmunds, Peter Eaton said that the branch had capitalised on an assessment by the National Association of
Left to right: Alice McGuinness, Belfast branch, Paul Larkin, Birmingham Rag branch and Peter Eaton, Bury St Edmunds branch
British Market Authorities (NABMA) that had identified the market as a prize asset for the town. They had joined forces with the town’s tourist group to promote the market and the town. Achievements included an effective web presence, a market plan, a column on the market in the local newspaper and promotional events such as Making Markets Matter, as well as the appointment by the council of a business market development officer.
Stating the case for Coventry branch, Executive Board Member Tracie Turnbull said traders paid £3 each towards advertising. They made good use of social media and had more than 3,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. The branch
organised the NMTF’s annual fishing competition, which raises money for the Benevolent Fund. And they were adept at getting free media coverage for market events and news.
Stockport branch completed the presentations with a submission by Mostafa Rezvani and Diane Peacock.They cited regular events organised by the branch such as Animal August that attracted children to the market. A bonus ball scheme raised money for promotions. They organised a trip to Skegness for five coach loads of traders and customers, which added to the feel good factor surrounding the market. And the branch is active in the Mary Portas initiative for the town centre.
  London’s West End Street Traders branch awarded
Cyril Rees Cup
THE Cyril Rees Memorial Cup for the NMTF branch with less than 100 members that recruited the most new members last year was awarded to the London’s West End Street Traders branch.
Presentation of the cup was made by NMTF Chief Executive, Joe Harrison at the branch’s annual general meeting.

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