Frome uses Super Market powers to attract shoppers
By Avalanche Media | Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 10:17
THE new monthly 'Frome Super Market' is back on Sunday and organisers are hoping thousands of shoppers will turn out to support local traders.
Frome is not just fighting the slump of the high street, but reworking the term supermarket. After watching the new Frome Super Market film, retail expert Mary Portas tweeted “Brilliant. Take note Town Teams”
The town centre will once again be closed off with the high street being transformed into an open-air shopping spectacle, made up of more than 150 independent traders.
Their stalls will line the breadth of the town – starting at the top of Catherine Hill and running down onto the Market Cross area, along the precinct and over the bridge, onto the Market Yard car park.
A wide range of artisan-produced food will be on sale - including freshly-made bread, pastries, cheese, pies and coffee. Visitors can also expect handmade jewellery, illustrations and prints, plus other textiles and ceramics.
Street entertainers will attempt to keep the crowds smiling come run or shine and the town council is providing free parking in all pay and display car parks (excluding the South Parade Car Park).
Peter Wheelhouse, Frome Town Council's newly appointed Economic Development and Regeneration Manager, said: "The idea of the Super Market is to make the whole town a market.
"It brings together stall holders from the across Mendip, including the town's two weekly markets, the Somerset Farmers' Market, the Artisan Market and the Flea market."
The success of these events is gaining wide appeal and this Sunday will see the return of a visiting vintage market from Bristol, plus designers from London's Spitalfields 'Designers/Makers' market.
"The first two Super Markets attracted thousands of people and we hope this overwhelming support continues on Sunday."
"There are canopies on all stalls to ensure the unpredictable British summer doesn't dampen shoppers' spirits.
He explains that the council and its market partners have already started collating feedback from the first two events. They hope to be in a strong position to continue running the markets, once the third Frome Super Market event has taken place at the beginning of September.
This monthly market initiative has been launched as a three-month experiment, combining the existing Frome Artisan and Flea markets with other market collectives to produce an event which spreads through the town.
Frome Town Council worked with local film production company Doubleshot to produce a short online film, showcasing the new Super Market. This is available to watch at fromesupermarket.co.uk.
The event caught the attention of BBC Somerset last week, when it broadcast a story about how the town was fighting off the effects of the credit crunch through the Frome Super Market.
Frome Super Market's new film was also picked up on Twitter by retail expert Mary Portas who commented publicly: "Brilliant. Take note Town Teams".
Frome businessman Gavin Eddy is the founder of the Artisan Market.
He said: "By using its super market powers, Frome businesses and shoppers are helping the town to protect itself from the economic turmoil that continues to cloak the rest of the country.
"It is bringing people together, showcasing the town's businesses and boosting the local enemy.
"Admittedly the road closure is adding five minutes to a car journey around Frome, but the Super Market is adding months of trading life to businesses and stall holders – and Frome needs this.
"Of course the event is still in its infancy and we're trying to take on board all suggestions and feedback from the community to improve it for everyone.
"But if the public turnout for August and July's event is anything to go by, Frome people seem to value it a lot more than a traditional Sunday morning lie in – which is very encouraging indeed."
The Frome Super Market is a new joint venture between Frome Town Council, Mendip District Council's Frome People's Market, the St Catherine's Artisan Market, Frome Flea and Somerset Farmers Market.