Cambridge Market

Cambridge Market

Operating an average of 99 stalls at around 93% occupancy rate, the Cambridge General and Sunday Market pulled out all the stops for Love Your Local Market fortnight.

Q: So what new start opportunities are there at Cambridge Market?

For Love Your Local Market, the team offered dozens of free spaces for local charities to trade from throughout Love Your Local Market fortnight. These were offered free of charge and of course, an abundance of bunting was supplied so that these newcomers really embraced the festival feel the team was keen to promote throughout the last two weeks of May. Furthermore, we used the bank holiday to promote a youth market. We had advertised the opportunity through our social media streams and were contacted by a number of schools, colleges and both universities in the city, as well as many individuals, keen to take us up on the free opportunity to trade in our markets. All those involved were given a briefing delivered by the team regarding how to set their stalls up and how they could promote their presence on the market through social media by using the @cammarkets tag.

Q: Is social media important to your organisation and do you use it? 

The team were prolific in using a variety of social media throughout Love Your Local Market, to such an extent that our Twitter account saw over 49,000 impressions during the #LYLM2016 fortnight. We created events on Facebook which gave us an indication of numbers that intended to visit and meant that we could commit appropriate resources to each event. We promoted a number of competitions using social media, examples of which were our market ‘selfie’ competition and our #LYLM2016 market bag design where the winning submission was printed on to upcycled hessian bags and distributed free of charge. The festival atmosphere that the events generated throughout the fortnight meant that the team and many of the traders used the opportunity to invite visitors to review their experience on TripAdvisor by distributing business cards.

Q: What examples of innovation can you share with us? 

The innovation introduced by the team for this years Love Your Local Market event was to hold a classic car rally around the market square on the first Sunday of the festival. This involved extensive negotiations with the car club we commissioned; with the County Council to facilitate the necessary parking dispensations and with the emergency services to ensure safe access and egress in the area. The vehicles brought a huge number of visitors to the market as we had promoted the event through our social media channels, Visit Cambridge profile page and through print media. Having both a market and a classic car rally at the same location encouraged many who patronised one to take a greater interest in the other.

Q: How do you promote links with the local community? 

The team showcased the Love Your Local Market fortnight by advertising on local community radio and hosting a roadshow on the market. The presenters interviewed traders who talked knowledgeably and enthusiastically about the provenance of their goods and market users who spoke with real warmth of their love of the market. We promoted the fortnight through our social media platforms and this year took out advertisements on the city’s Park & Ride buses so that all visitors were aware of the many events and offers we arranged throughout the festival. As mentioned, we also worked closely with a number of charities, schools and colleges to promote the opportunities the market provides.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about working with local partners? 

A particularly enjoyable event that we laid on as part of the Love Your Local Market festival was a kitchen demonstration led by Luiz of Nanna Mexico. Luiz began operating on Cambridge market more than ten years ago and his business has taken off to such an extent that he now has three shops in Cambridge. Luiz showcased how to make cheap, quick and tasty meals using ingredients sourced from the market to many salivating passers-by and also spoke with many of the traders about his experiences in turning his fledgling business into a thriving local concern.

Q: Anything else?

Continuing to adapt and innovate our LYLM offer is an enjoyable challenge that the team is set each year. The team continues to network with other market operators learning from them and adapting events or offers that others have employed successfully. We look forward to sharing with others what has worked well so that the industry as a whole is readied and more resilient in the face of new challenges in the months and years to come.