Traders Charged Extra For Christmas Market

11 Dec

Whilst I was out and about last weekend I bumped into a food producer at a Christmas Fair was told that Aberystwyth Christmas market was going ahead but that the stand price was increased by £8.00, which I think is to pay for a banner. I also learnt that  market traders, who support the market throughout the year should book early, because this market is open to anyone that wishes to attend – so what price loyalty?

I have strong feelings on markets and festivals, partly because these are a regular complaint that I get ‘thrown’ at me. Plus we are  all still reeling about the flawed project from fork2fork that covered markets along with farm shops and box schemes. Three years and £900k later I cannot see any improvement in these three sectors, in fact quite the reverse. I was going to say what is £900k between ‘friends’ but that is not really appropriate! What is important is those in power backing Welsh food and drink.

So many markets are struggling and too many councils cannot be bothered to get behind markets and support them rather than taking down their signs. There are exceptions of course, as I blogged recently about Uplands market in Swansea, a market that appears to be going from strength to strength. In my book loyalty is key; if you have traders supporting you market after market, then you should look after them first and foremost. I would have thought that a no-brainer. I don’t really care if Aberystwyth wishes to take all and sundry in for a one off market, providing the newcomers pay the higher price, not the your regulars and they don’t get the best spots. I’m not totally sure on banner prices but £8.00 per trader seems expensive. Is it really worth it for one banner rather than running off flyers and posters?

I really don’t quite understand why the traders are charged extra for this Christmas market when I’m sure the regulars aren’t given a discount when it rains all morning on market day and their takings are well down. Please don’t say £8.00 extra is fine. It takes a busy market and some selling to get that £8.00 back with such low margins on food. Plus many traders look at Christmas trade to give them a bonus for what they know will be quieter markets in January and February. It’s sad that’s not how Aberystwyth look on this, but then they are not trying to sell food for a living are they?


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  1. market trader

    December 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

    You’re spot on with this
    loyalty counts for nothing
    we’ve had bad trading days through the weather of course, but never a discount, but pay more for Xmas but no reductions throughout Jan, Feb, Mar, and Nov.
    A banner is pointless we need regular coverage to remind people when the Welsh markets are running.
    Can I ask you to do it in the magazine as you used to do?
    That would help if it was in every issue as it’d be a constant reminder if you put it in the food pages.

  2. Andy

    December 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    For the ten years that we have run Penclawdd Local Produce Market we have always held a party for our traders at the end of the Christmas market as a thank you to them for supporting us. Most of the food and drink being bought from the traders. It offers traders and organisers to have a good and relaxed chat about the industry and the way forward locally.

  3. Benji7???

    December 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Think that is one of many reason your market is a good one with a great vibe and a pleasure to visit.
    hope we get there again soon.
    Some markets work and some do not ……

  4. cheeseman

    December 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    How is it that people who get paid whether they do a good job or not think it’s ok to up a Xmas market stand by £8. In their world guess that means little but for us it does.
    I agree that regular traders should get the best pitches and others stuck at the end but having more stands at this market and paying more doesn’t guarantee we’ll make enough money to cover us as this market then stops for nearly a month. Aber folk then don’t need to eat. I guess there will be 5 or more doing cheese, so that doesn’t help me. Pay up front and then it’s up to us to pay an extra £8. it’s a rip off. But as producers we struggle to complain because that could mean we get moved. We need to swap jobs for a while.

  5. Foodie

    December 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for telling us about this market. I typed in Aberystwyth Christmas market and found nothing about it at all. In this day and age, surely it does not take much to advertise on the internet?
    If you want to sell something, you advertise what you have for sale. Its not a difficult concept. What a shame it seems to be beyond the organisers of this festival.

  6. producer

    December 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

    This is a farce – charging extra because it’s Xmas for a banner – wowee
    I don’t understand this market. Someone is paid 4 days a week to run a fortnightly market when most markets are run by producers or volunteers. How many markers that are still trading have paid staff. I find this odd.
    It’s tough if you are up against three or four traders doing the same thing, not that most of us can’t stand competition, but because this market is not getting enough people through and spending for us all to make enough money.
    Kath can’t you start pushing markets again?

  7. producer 10

    December 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    don’t get why we’ve to pay more – it’s not a cheap market
    we don’t mind competition up to a point but if you have 3 or 4 cheese producers there are not enough people coming through to justify our time and effort.
    Another £8 and ay up front. it’s a rip off and getting at producers again
    Why are most markets run by volunteers and this one isn’t? I’ve asked Kath about this but she doesn’t know
    Kath can you start promoting markets again?

  8. Benji7???

    December 13, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    You can ask, but the answer is no. The first problem is Welsh Country has a VAT number, not a charity number.
    If markets are able and willing to advertise with us we can help them, of course we can, but they say they’ve no money. So that will not happen. For the last three years we’ve not wasted our time asking them.

    The second one is fork2fork getting paid £900k for their three year project and one of their three targets was farmers’ markets.

    So sorry, but I think it’s unfair to ask me to cover farmers’ markets for free, when we are not funded by wag.
    I totally agree that something like a regular list as we used to run each issue works. That was a good idea and needed as a reminder, a bit-in-your face, but tackle fork2fork, wag food or your Assembly Members for help on this and please let me know how you get on!!!

  9. Benji7???

    December 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Sorry no, not unless we are funded.
    I’d already answered this and suggested that talking to wag food, fork2fork or your Assembly Members
    If I’d been paid £900k for three years for fork2fork, I would have hoped that markets would have been in a better place than they are now. Fork2fork are still being paid by wag so it’s still their job. Mind you it will not be mine until someone pays us, it’s a basic really!
    I’m sorry this is causing so much worry and unrest, but Welsh Country is not on wag’s pay role.
    Let me know how you get on if you take it up with someone else……..

  10. trader

    December 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I go there occasionally, but there aren’t enough people coming through. One of my mates, a regular trader there says that most markets are run by a volunteer, but this one isn’t.
    Not sure why this one is run differently, but isn’t that an extra direct cost to the traders, or do the council fund that salary?

  11. Benji7???

    December 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    This market is not run by a volunteer, but no details on payment source – sorry

  12. trader chap

    December 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I prefer traders running markets because at least they know which way is up. They know how tough life is out there and no way is a 8 quid increase fair even for Xmas and why no market at beginning of Jan?
    Does someone still get paid regardless?
    Not sure people get how important good markets and festivals are
    reality check needed

  13. Su

    December 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

    If you hadn’t told us Fork2Fork have been given £800k to cover markets, farm shops and boxes, for 2 years, most of us would not have known about it. Then you told us they’d got another mere £100k for another year with £43k to update a website that no-one really goes on, that would have slipped under our radar too. Which is just what wag want! Treat us like mushrooms, by keeping us in the dark. Thanks to you we know what a wasteful food team we have and we are disgusted. Now look at markets over Wales and this one in Aber too and you’d never have known any money, thought or marketing has gone in that direction. Our markets are failing but do we get a refund from Fork2Fork? I guess maybe not.
    Why does this market warrant a paid person? How many markets have a paid person?
    Why do traders have to pay a further £8? A banner? Please give me a break. This makes no sense to me.

    I know why no-one is listening to us traders, apart from you and the guys there, it’s because wag have no interest in us, only the likes of FBA and other favourite companies. But why are they not listening to you?
    Ignorance is bliss for wag.
    Communication is a skill wag food haven’t learnt, despite you telling them what seems like on a weekly basis.
    Meanwhile they carry on propping up their favoured companies year after year and wasting our money and no-one seems to care apart from you.
    Who is the idiot that agreed to this £900k into one company for 3 years that has achieved little for us at the sharp end.
    What is this industry coming to when people like this are in charge?

  14. Andy

    December 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I would guess most markets have paid personnel. They could be paid by the local authority, grant schemes or run sustainably. I don’t think you would get many volunteers to take on the varied tasks of running a market, on a long term basis. This Monday 6 banners are strategically placed so that the local authority wont take them away, and collected and stored on the Sunday. 2 hours Friday evening setting up. 7.30 start on Saturday, coordinating a balance of produce. Clear up at end of market and home by 2pm. Ensuring all traders have correct documentation in place should you be visited by trading standards or environmental health. Responding to phone and email enquiries promptly, regarding spaces available.
    Handling press releases. Attending meetings, so that we are up to date with what is happening in the industry, getting fliers printed and distributed, etc. etc.
    It aint easy, believe me.

  15. Foodie

    December 19, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I do not have a problem with someone being paid to run a market. As Andy has pointed out, there is a need for someone to make sure all the paperwork etc is in place. BUT to be paid 4 days a week for a market held twice a month is stretching it. I presume that most of the stallholders are regulars and their paperwork needs checking once a year, so this is not a huge task.
    We all have email and enquiries to answer, most of us do this after a long day doing our main job, it certainly does not take longer than an hour a day! Then we fit in marketing, planning, banking, ordering, distribution etc even later in the evening.
    Maybe a little time marketing this Christmas market to pull in the crowds would be appreciated by the traders, in the place where most people look – the internet.

  16. trader

    December 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    a market without a website, how does that help traders
    in these times you wouldn’t think a market could possibly ignore a website — but this one does and then sticks a advert in the local rag
    a web presence is essential isn’t it?

    get with it for goodness sake

  17. producer

    December 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

    No website – which century are this lot working in?
    How can that support their traders?
    It’s total nonsense.
    If they have nearly a full-time person working there – why no website?
    doesn’t make sense.

  18. trader

    January 2, 2014 at 9:46 am

    market organiser is paid by the public purse so it’s ok there’s no market this Saturday and our customers can swan off to the supermarket – what a great idea.
    some producers did want a market this Saturday, that’s how we earn a living- such as it is – but we don’t get what we want at Aber.

  19. foodie

    January 2, 2014 at 9:49 am

    how many markets don’t have a website especially when council run?
    Is it not possible for the organiser to run it on one of her 4 days a week work?

    Well done Ceredigion, leaders as always, I think not

  20. trader

    January 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Does it really take one person 4 days each week to run a fortnightly market? Surely it doesn’t take 4 days work for one market
    I would have expected all Welsh food markets to at least have a website, isn’t that a basic nowadays?
    I wish Kath that you go back to promoting all markets as your magazine covers all Wales.

  21. Benji7???

    January 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I’ve no idea on time or work involved – sorry.
    As regards Welsh Country promoting all markets across Wales again, well I’d love to, they are so important for Welsh people and our food
    producers because it is difficult to know which market is running which day and what time. But that is the job fork2fork were paid handsomely for.
    So of course Welsh Country can go back to doing that all over again, but who is going to pay for it? That’s the sticking point…..

  22. Aber trader

    January 10, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Aber. market needs a wake-up call to 2014.
    No website – there’s no excuse. Surely working 4 days per week gives you time after all these years to put up a website. Surely there’s someone in CCC that that could help to put up a basic website.
    What’s the reason that they haven’t got one?
    Get a grip Aber. and do some work for us producers
    A website would have been more useful than charging us an extra £8.00 for Xmas for a banner and an advert in the local rag!! A website is there for good and only needs updating is that beyond Aber?