Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE -

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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