Fleetwood Market grows local businesses

Three local entrepreneurs have established new businesses in Fleetwood Market with support from Wyre Council and a national market trading association.

First Pitch is a market trader start-up scheme run by the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF), delivered in partnership in Fleetwood with Wyre Council.

Fleetwood Market received the most applications for the scheme from all over the UK. Eight entrepreneurs tested out their business ideas in May, all of them securing support to trade for a further 12 months.

The support package included free membership of the NMTF, a retail training guide and mentoring for 12 months from a market trading expert. The council also offered a generous rent incentive to ensure traders had the best start possible.

After six months, three of the traders are still active in Fleetwood Market and all have ambitious plans to expand their businesses.

Myles Brent is owner of recycled handbag stall, Myles’ Bags, and is one of the three traders supported through First Pitch. Myles said: “Since getting involved with First Pitch, it has helped me gain confidence to interact with new people such as other market traders and new customers.

“The market manager has supported me throughout my start-up and has supported my ideas from the beginning. I am really enjoying being part of Fleetwood Market and plan to expand within the next year.”

Ann-Maria Selby, market trader and secretary of the NMTF branch on Fleetwood Market, is sharing her extensive knowledge of trading on the market with the new stallholders. She said: “Seeing just how successful the traders have been throughout the process has been valuable to Fleetwood as an evolving market.”

Julie Porter of Oooh Baby is another of Fleetwood’s new market businesses, a baby clothing stall offering handmade embellished clothes and blankets.

Julie explains: “Through trading part-time and spending quality time with my granddaughter I have made a hobby into a flourishing start-up. My mentor, Ann-Maria, has also been a massive help – we are currently looking into grants funded by the government to keep Oooh baby sustainable.”

Shelley Dixon of handmade accessories stall, Daisy Daze, has expanded rapidly in the space of six months, doubling her business in size. She also has a separate stall selling household, kitchenware and DIY products.

Shelley said: “Trading makes you learn something new every day, for example I’ve learned that Daisy Daze isn’t just for younger customers – I recently had praise from an elderly lady of 78! I plan to stay at Fleetwood for the near future as it is a market I feel can grow and change with modern demands.”

Traders initially supported by First Pitch who left the market also have positive stories to tell.

Karl Roberts and his wooden craftware stall Lumber-Crafts have moved out to Cleveleys to run a shop. And Simon and Jeanette Noble, who sold soaps, pot pourri and fragranced giftware, have opened a shop on Fleetwood’s high street.

Manager of Fleetwood Market, Julian Brent, is also mentoring the traders alongside Ann-Maria Selby. Commenting on the success of the scheme at Fleetwood, he said: “First Pitch is just what is required at the moment for the industry. I feel our new traders have brought a fresh atmosphere to Fleetwood Market and the scheme has supported them in every possible way.” “I have really enjoyed being hands on with First Pitch and Ann-Maria has been a very knowledgeable mentor when our new businesses needed it most. It gives Market Managers something to offer new start-ups and I have found it to be a huge success here at Fleetwood – I look forward to joining in again next year.”