The Halswell Community Project are going to try to put on three market days over the coming summer (Sunday 13th October, Sunday 24th November and Sunday 16th February) on a a small site (St Lukes Church) to test the feasibility of setting up a market in Halswell. These days will help us find out what people want from a market here and also whether the community are interested in the market idea.
We set up the Halswell Community Project in February this year, and amongst other things we have been finding out more about what we need to do to set up a market. In that process we also learned about markets that have failed around Christchurch and the reasons why they failed.
|Lyttelton Market 2013|
To run a weekly market, you need:
- A good venue,
- A consent to trade,
- Reliable vendors who are selling things that people want to buy, and
- Many customers who come regularly and buy from the vendors.
We are working on the venue and have had talks with a few people around the place. We have been told by the Council that doing it on Council land is difficult and something to be avoided, and we have talked with the supermarket manager and he is not keen to have a market in his carpark because it will create congestion issues. Schools are a good place to run a market and we are working on that but this will take us some time to sort out.
To run a regular market, the Council requires us to have a consent, in which they assess things like noise levels, parking, effects on the neighbours, effects on traffic and a number of other things.
A consent costs several thousand dollars which includes Council costs and the cost of paying a planner to work with us to put the application together. We expect that it will also be a major investment in our own time - both in finding funding and in doing what is needed to put in an application.
The rub is that a couple of new markets in Christchurch have failed, so funders are going to want to know that we are sure that we can get a market up and running if they are going to give us that amount of funding.
Vendors and buyers - how markets fail
To run a successful market you need a good number of reliable vendors and a good number of reliable buyers and the vendors need to sell what the buyers want. Without ALL of this nobody comes!
Having a good number of buyers
Last year we ran a survey to find out how interested people are in the idea of a market. Perhaps the most important aspect of that was how many people chose to go and fill in the survey. We put 4000 fliers into letterboxes around Halswell and about 390 people filled in the survey. We know that some people do not have access to computers, but the question is if only 390 people were prepared to fill in our survey how many would actually come to a market (something that arguably takes more effort). At this stage, we are unsure exactly how interested Halswell people really are in a market and what this might translate into when we actually run a market.
Without a good number of buyers, vendors don't want to come back
To get a good number of buyers, you have to sell what people want to buy!
People are most likely to want to buy food on a regular basis. If you think about it, many of us do buy food each week but we don't spend nearly so frequently on other goods and services. So a good market needs things like eggs, bread, good fruit and veges, and food that people can eat on the spot with a coffee.
There are a relatively small number of vendors around Christchurch. Vendors selling things like bread, cheese, pastries, pies or preserves (for example) need to be licensed. Vendors that sell veges either need to be reasonable sized growers of a variety of veges, or commercial operators who buy from the grower, so they have enough to sell at a regular market. Many vendors attend more than one market and while some might be keen on a new option (if it doesn't clash with a market they already attend) some may not want to come to another market.
We'd love to get new, local vendors but new vendors may need time to learn what it takes to run a good stall and whether they really want to do it. As such there is a little more risk in getting new vendors to a new market, so we need a way to manage that.
Why market days?
We've decided to run three community market days this summer to see if we can find vendors, to give vendors a chance to test the water here, and to see who comes along.
We hope to find out:
- Whether we can develop a good set of vendors,
- How to locate and work with vendors and
- Whether people in Halswell are likely to support a market - by coming along to it.
So you can help by coming along, making suggestions to people who might make good vendors. If you have some ideas about the latter, then contact Phil at email@example.com