26 Jan Tommyfield Market Hall
Operating 200 stalls at around 60% occupancy rate, Tommyfield Market Hall in Oldham narrowly missed out on the coveted Best Love Your Local Market Event in the Great British Market Awards.
We caught up with them to ask what they had done during #LYLM2016.
Q: So what new start opportunities are there at Tommyfield Market Hall?
New traders are given a 50% discount on rent for the first 12 months and then 25% off for a following 3 months. For brick and perimeter units, new traders receive 1 months’ rent free. We also offer 3 weeks free and 3 weeks half price rent to new traders during the Love Your Local Market week.
Q: Is social media important to your organisation and do you use it?
We realise that social media is at the forefront of communication in 2016. That’s why we’ve given all the traders on the market opportunities to attend free social media training courses. The sessions were delivered by the council communications team and the sessions taught each trader how to use social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to attract new customers from online, and how to promote their produce. We now have around 20 of our traders on social media posting when they can. The Local Authority also manage a Tommyfield Market Facebook page (1800 likes), Twitter page (900) and Instagram (63 followers).
We also use our corporate social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) to promote offers, market-related events and activities heavily. These are very important in spreading key messages, as our main focus is to increase footfall in the market, through events, paid social media adverts and free social media messaging.
Q: What examples of innovation can you share with us?
Tommyfield Indoor Market lacks a public space, therefore, when 4 units became available, we transformed the space into ‘Tommy’s Field’ children’s play area where we hold free face painting, balloon modelling and storytelling events most weekend to entice families into the Market Hall. This idea has been very well received by families shopping in the hall and the events are always well attended. Alongside this, we have introduced a mascot called ‘Mr Tommy Field’, his purpose being to engage with a younger audience across the borough.
Q: How do you promote links with the local community?
We have hosted various events to increase engagement and footfall, including Oldham by the Beach, The Big Flip, Oldham’s Light Switch On, Tommy’s Christmas Cracker, Spooky Saturday and an Easter Egg Hunt – all received regional and local coverage in the media, including Manchester Evening News, Oldham Chronicle and the Saddleworth Independent.
We have worked with Oldham Theatre Workshop to create a mascot called Mr Tommy Field – who engages with children and the public as they shop. We have introduced Tommy’s Christmas Market Raffle, a way to engage the community and increase sales. All residents needed to do was get a raffle ticket, buy something from any stall on the market and submit their ticket. Residents could win prizes from an Xbox One S Console, to mountain bikes, complete with helmets. The competition proved very successful and we received over 2000 entries.
We have also introduced a £5 Friday Market, where traders can trade all day, for just £5, again to help increase footfall and drive sales but also to offer a wide variety of stalls that we don’t usually have on the market. We have hosted various events to engage the community including The Big Flip (on Shrove Tuesday), Tommy’s Christmas Cracker, Oldham by the Beach and an interactive Easter Egg Hunt across the market.
We support Dr. Kershaw’s, a local hospice by lending gazebos for events and have also raised over £150 for the hospice at our recent ‘Cake for Kershaw’s’. Stalls can also be rented at half price or free of charge for local charities such as Animal Rescue, the Donkey Sanctuary and local churches.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about working with local partners?
Working with partners: We now work very closely with our Town Centre team. In the past, events in the town centre and the market were held as separate events. Today any events that take place include the Market Hall. For example, a few years ago the Halloween event was held only in the market hall, now working with the Town Centre team, the event has become one of the biggest in the calendar, with creepy characters, spooky acts and music, held around the town centre and market hall.
We have also hosted a big flip competition for Pancake Day, hosted Mother’s Day arts and crafts event and hosted a range of events for LYLM week including Bingo, craft sessions and more. We have also worked with Oldham Community Power to install Solar Panels on the roof of the Market Hall.
Q: Anything else?
We know that markets are in decline and with a little push and smart marketing it helps keep the local community spirit alive. We recently did a Tommyfield Market campaign complete with radio time, bus adverts, posters, leaflets, social media adverts and more.
We like to put the traders at the front of our campaign materials and we let the traders shape the campaign. We had a meeting, got all the traders ideas flowing and came up with three different designs and messaging. Tommyfield Market Hall is one of the biggest covered markets in the North West, almost 6,000 square feet. We have managed to maintain a high occupancy figure by offering the incentives since April last year.