I MANAGE a community food market and I’m looking for ways to keep the market interesting for our customers?
A GOOD market can become the heart of a local community, and there is nothing people love better than heading to a market on a Saturday morning and enjoying the stallholders’ produce. As market manager, you have the unenviable task of balancing the needs of all the stallholders while at the same time stimulating consumers to spend more money and to come back.
One of the things that really works with markets is to embrace the seasons and really capitalise when new-season products come into place. I don’t mean just the products themselves, but what other stallholders can do with a new ingredient. If there is a great harvest of Irish apples, of course one would expect the orchard owner to be present with probably their apples and some juice.
There is also an opportunity for your baker to use the fresh apples in their apple pies and perhaps even the local jam maker to incorporate the apple into one of their jams.
Look at how you can also run events to keep people’s interest. Saturday morning face-painting for kids, a cookery class for adults, or inviting stallholders from another town in your region to join your stallholders as a one-off exercise, should all be considered.
Managing a market is exactly the same as managing a supermarket. You have to use all of the senses to stimulate your customers by harnessing sounds, smells and theatre to create a vibrant and exciting environment. Do think about mixing some ‘food for now’ with ‘food for later’ so that consumers can enjoy a snack at the market as well as doing their shopping and taking products home. I’m rather envious of your job and would love to hear how you get on.
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