New ideas for Shropshire town's traditional market with new group at the helm
A new group is at the helm of a town's indoor market - and it hoping it can be the catalyst to create a thriving community hub and give traders the chance to start or build up their businesses.
The Project SY12 Community Interest Company (CIC) took over the lease of the Ellesmere Market Hall from Shropshire Council in March and is about to embark on a major refurbishment of the historic building.
It runs the Tuesday weekly town market, has launched regular late-night and artisan markets - and has more ideas in the pipeline.
Alexander-James Hunter from the CIC said: "We saw that the town needed the hall to be utilised more, built and developed into a more suitable space to fulfil the charter requirements on a Tuesday, where we hold the town market from 8am to 2pm, as well as private hire uses.
"We took a few months to settle in, and have now planned to start works refurbishing the toilets, floors and general interior, as well as utilising our expertise from our events company.
"We have introduced our late night market, following suit of some other local and national markets. Our first event was July, and it was a great success seeing a great footfall, local food and drink as well as retail traders, some selling out within a few hours.
"From September we are introducing a Thursday market to work alongside our Tuesday, as well as a monthly artisan market bringing together traders for home and interiors, health and beauty, food and drink, crafters and clothing."
The Project SY12 is already looking ahead to the winter as well as next summer.
"Our calendar of events is being finalised for next year, where we are looking to bring back and manage the Food & Drink Festival held in June, the Summer Festival held in August over three days, as well as continuing to manage part of the winter festival for both 2023 and 2024."
He said the CIC's board of directors has been created to bring expertise and a local interest, involving people previously involved within the market or town events, all bringing something different to the table.
"We are now looking at funding for developing the market hall, in various ways to really build up the hub we strive to be, creating meeting spaces, and increasing sustainability and aim to be open to the public more. Plans will be put out to tender to local companies via our website while we submit bids for funding.
"Any new or existing traders are welcome to apply via our website to become a trader with us, at any of our markets or events. If they haven't started trading yet and have an idea, we would be keen to get involved and help them look at their business ideas, with the idea to become an incubator for small start-ups that could then move to units in the town centre or business park once established."
Learn more at ellesmeremarket.co.uk.