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Farmers/Produce Market - Tips on opening a new

1. Choose the village/town in which you’d ideally like to hold your market. This might sound obvious, but in bad weather people would rather be indoors, and if you can find a village hall, preferably with some parking and space for outside stalls, it’s worth going for that.

Often you can negotiate a bargain price to fill in one of the halls free days. They will also probably have trestle tables for prospective stall holders who might not have their own. You can charge one price for an outdoor pitch, more to be inside. You will also have electricity, as many with older refrigerator vans, will come with their own extension cables and need it.

2. Thoroughly research what other markets take place within both 10 miles then 25 miles within your planned market.

3. Find a few gaps in the week when you don’t clash with anybody else too close – and write these down as possibilities. You might end up having to be much more flexible than you originally intended. In our experience, unfortunately Sunday seems to be a no no. A few years ago, we tried this ourselves, and often it’s the only day market traders have off. If they’re one man bands or family concerns, you might not be able to persuade them to attend.

4. Visit all the markets on your list, and write down the names of all the stalls, their contact addresses and what they sell. Then make yourself a preference list – starting with all the stalls you feel you must have to make the operation credible.

Producers of chutney and jam will appear out of the woodwork at every turn, and you don’t want more than two of these. But a couple of butchers, or more if they specialise will do no harm. A fishmonger would be a real bonus.

5. Phone up and write to all these stall holders and see if they’d be interested; and if so which days are completely out for them. In this way build up a solid list of ‘hopefuls’. As we say, write as well, it stays in peoples memories better and will give them your contact address for future use. An email can simply be wiped out by mistake.

6. You will have to consider ‘Planning’ – if you go down the village hall route, you might not have to both with this, at least initially. If you consider you market ‘sporadic’ rather than regular (a situation you might be able to ride-out for many months – or until someone of authority notices [again possibly many months] you might not have to apply at all. But red tape becomes difficult when you do. You’ll have to pay for ground plans for anything outside and be told exactly how far you can extend and where cars must park. Plus your maximum permitted number of stalls.

* Our advice is to try and avoid this at all costs, until you see that your market takes off.

7. When you chose at date, try to make it easy to remember. The 3rd Tuesday of each month, isn’t going to be remembered by everyone – if anyone. If you’re in a built up area or feel you have a good catchment area think of eventually having your market on the same day each week. In that way people won’t forget you.

8. You might be surprised how much stallholders expect to take to make their attendance worthwhile. When we ran a market for a time, some stallholders needed at least

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