Recently I have been on my journeys to markets around the West Midlands, promoting and signing up traders for Where’s My Market? – Market Trader Directory, and it often gets asked of me lately from my friends fully aware of my journeys: which is the best market I have been to?
I must admit I do find this unusual now that my friends who have no interest in markets are starting to take notice in markets, but this is what I am supposed to do as a market blogger and as the owner of a Market trader directory. I am supposed to drive interest back into the markets whether I use positivity or negativity, as long as markets get noticed.
With the above being said I have visited many markets some with a great atmosphere, some with great traders and market managers, and many which are struggling. Therefore, this is not so easy as obvious factors get in the way of some markets but as a market overall, weighing up traders, managers, promotion, customers, variety, and diversity, I will share with you my top 2 markets that I have visited in the West Midlands.
My favourite market I have visited in the West Midlands since the beginning of Market Shoppers Blog, and therefore I would recognise as the best market I have visited would have to be Penkridge Market in Stafford, West Midlands. Penkridge market was established in 1978 and has been run by market manager 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 alone, shows how highly regarded this market is, and its diversity.
When I visited Penkridge market I had written a blog about the market and some traders SEE HERE and since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. This market was thriving on its worse day, had traditional and new traders, indoor section and outdoor, everything you could want and need from a market. It even had the little necessities such as free parking. The market is excellently managed, and it is obvious the traders take pride, but why I loved this market so much was because it took me back to my youth, this was how I remember markets to be. There was something everywhere, I would see things I didn’t need or want but I would buy them anyway. It was really and truly a great day out, from getting lectured by the food van with the man talking with a mouth full of bacon spitting everywhere, to seeing the steam train go past that I didn’t even think were still around today, and then they had children’s activities too with a bouncy castle slide. They had all angles covered and from visiting this market, it really motivated and re-assured me that markets can still do well today.
A close runner up would have to be my home town’s Bilston market, and not because this is my home town, but because regardless of that fact, this is and always has been a great market. It has died down a little from its glory days, but it is still a busy and fantastic market. This was the motivation behind my market ambitions, this was supposed to be the market of my first business venture I had planned, until I came across with the solution of Where’s My Market?
Bilston market has a lot of traditional market traders that have been there from my youth. They may not recognise me now but I’ll always remember them, from buying sweets on our school breaks, to buying games, and the fact that these traders are still here, says a lot about the market. Bilston market is located perfectly – literally next to the high street, the famous Major’s Chippy, the bus and tram stop, and the key way. Bilston market is the heart of the town, this market is a sign of history. A perfect example of longevity and flowing with the times, this market has managed to stay necessary, despite a Morrison’s exactly opposite on the one hand, and a busy high street on the other side. Despite all of this, customers still visit this market, and this alone shows why this market is my 2nd favourite. There is something about it I can’t explain, it is something you have to feel for yourself.