Market Shoppers Blog has been on its travels again and this time we had the honour of being invited to Penkridge market in the West Midlands for Where’s My Market? Penkridge market is quite a spectacular place, and this is the only market in a long while that has managed to give me a feeling similar to what markets of the past were like. Penkridge market is truly a great market and has somehow managed to implement modern practices in business management and marketing and has still kept its market values and qualities by captivating and storing its history in the market.
Penkridge market is a regular market that sets up twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I visited Penkridge market on a Saturday, which is not the markets busiest day, as reviews online and the market manager himself revealed to me they tend to be busier on a Wednesday recently. Now to consider this was not the busiest day of the market, and the fact that it made me feel nostalgic to how markets used to be, I would assume attending on a Wednesday would literally take me back in time. I had such an enjoyable day, from speaking with many great traders, seeing many unique products, and experiencing a lot of old school market trader personalities as well as modern.
When arriving at Penkridge market I got in contact with the market manager Matt, who was expecting me, and all I can go off here is my personal experience, but what a guy. He was welcoming, friendly, professional, open minded and very clued up. We had a little talk about markets in general and Penkridge, and some of the things he was saying I was amazed at as I have spoken to a few market managers but not many seemed as passionate about markets as Matt was. He understood my vision and tries to influence his traders to using online marketing, as he understood how it is important for markets to move with the times and utilise the newest and probably most effective tool in online marketing. He really does want the best for his traders and is running a nice ship, so to speak. The thing I am still trying to get my head around to this day is how he has managed to keep the original market feel to his market and still keep the market relevant today. Even though the market only has two regular days, it is still thriving, and I feel with Matt’s management, it will be thriving for many more years to come.
Penkridge market was established in 1978 and has been run by Matt’s family since 1992, with Matt taking over in 2009. The market has visitors and traders from all surrounding areas, such as Wolverhampton, Walsall, Stoke, Stafford which in it self shows how highly regarded this market is, and how diverse. I think a part of this markets success is its creative abilities, for example on a Wednesday they hold a poultry auction – how many markets do this? Or on the first Thursday of every month they hold an antiques collectors market, again catering for others’ needs; on the 3rd Saturday of each month they hold a fine food and craft market, and when its the Christmas period it is time for the Victorian Christmas market (which still have stalls available for the outside section), which has been on site for five years already. This is a market that does so much and maybe this is why it is still so relevant. This is a market that is not afraid to try new things and ventures out, for example in 2017 they will be starting a brand new event in the Children’s market, with a child fun fair, parent market stall and more, this honestly does seem like a leading market. Another unique factor of this market is that it has a steam train passing by the market regularly, which is not something you see very often these days.
Penkridge market is easy to locate and access, as they provide their customers with free parking next to the market. So if you are like me and go to the market with your nan, then you will know being right next to the market will do your back many of favours when pushing that wheel chair.
Now as always when blogging about these markets I will tell you about some of the great traders I met. With this market there were literally many great traders and what is quite shocking was how many actually had brick and mortar businesses that were successful but still trade on the market each week, which is a credit to the market. These included traders such as:
Penkridge Pet & Garden who own a shop named G. H. Gisbourne & son, but still run a market stall on a Wednesday and Friday at Penkridge market. It is mainly run by the 19 year old son and father, they are a family run market stall that has been around for 40 years, and at Penkridge for around 30 years. The young gentlemen I spoke to was a credit to his family and it is a great thing to see the youth not only taking interest, but running a market themselves and maintaining knowledge on the hundreds of products they provide.
M M Bowater Fishmongers the trader from my youth, the trader with all the banter, a trader that has helped shape markets in all their success and not many have honestly done this. He is, in my mind, a proper market trader; he has the gift of the gab, he is confident, he is quick, he is loud, and he is good at his job. He has a certain style to him that you don’t see in modern traders these days, and he is what markets are originally about: personality, experience, good product, hard worker and lifting your spirits up with his positive attitude, a really inspiring man.