How to Start a Community Market in Your Neighbourhood

Updated on December 19, 2016

How to Start a Community Market

It's easy to get a market started, all you need is a passion for your community development, plenty of perseverance and a little spare time.

Recruit supporters. You can definitely get a market started on your own, but its' a lot more fun (and much less stressful) if you have some enthusiastic sidekicks to bounce ideas off.If you don't know anyone that is keen to help out, try contacting local community groups like local Lions Club, school, Community Board or local Council, Community Garden or Sustainable Living group.I have found other Market organisers to be more than willing to share their expertise and experience.

Find a venue. If you live in temperate climes where you can hold a market outdoors year round, then finding a venue won't be too hard. It can be trickier, however, if you need to find an indoor venue. Here are a few things to consider when you are looking for a space:

  • You will want a venue that will give you room to grow, but won't be too spacious while you are getting started.
  • Stallholders like to have space to show their wares without being too cramped up to the next stall.
  • It's nice to have a community space for shoppers to meet up and chat.

Be creative and proactive in approaching and negotiating with potential landlords for a venue. Make sure you know what your market can afford to contribute, and what benefits you can offer to a landlord that may help reduce the costs to you.

Find stallholders. Visit other markets and talk to stallholders (its polite to contact the market's organisers first and let them know that you will be doing this!). Have some cards made up that you can leave with people. Deliver flyers and display posters in your neighbourhood letting the locals know that you are looking for stallholders. Contact local groups and let them know of this great opportunity for fundraising. Local Churches and Schools are ideal candidates.

Get plenty of publicity. Tell everyone you meet about your new venture. Word of mouth is great advertising. Contact your local paper and invite them to do an article about your market. Free advertising is fantastic—although you don't get much control over it. I know from experience that there is nothing more demoralising than a much anticipated write-up not living up to expectations! Recruit your local school to make posters, or include your market details in their newsletter.

Mataura Community Market

Mataura Community Market Opening Day
Mataura Community Market Opening Day
Mataura Community Market Opening Day
Mataura Community Market Opening Day

Why Start a Community Market?

We live such disconnected lives nowadays. We commute long distances to work, we work long hours, we barely have enough time for our family let alone our neighbourhood. But by neglecting our most immediate community connections we lose an invaluable support network, we miss out on the opportunity to forge great friendships, to create a safe environment for our kids to play in and to have the sense of really belonging that comes with being a contributing member of the neighbourhood.

A Community Market is a great way to breathe new life into your neighbourhood. It helps build a focal point for your community where locals can come together in a relaxed, casual setting.

It can be a fantastic incubation ground for new local businesses. The start up costs for entrepreneurs are minimal, and its a simple way to get started and get their product to the marketplace. And its not just new ventures that benefit. A vibrant and busy Community Market will bring more people to town - which is fantastic for existing businesses as well.

A thriving Community Market opens people up to the possibilities that their neighbourhood provides. It's a way for people with diverse vision and skill to meet together and create something that benefits everyone in the community. It provides opportunities for consumers and producers to interact in ways that just aren't possible when you head over to the mall for your shopping.

Every community is different, and every Community Market will be too. Each one is an expression of the community it serves. It's a great opportunity for the neighbourhood to get together and create a sense of pride and community spirit that may have been lacking previously.

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      William McCracken 8 years ago

      Fine article. Gives me ideas on what to do in our neighborhood. Thanks.

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