Monthly Archives: November 2012

Market Rasen’s “Double Whammy” of Christmas Markets

Lincolnshire’s Portas Pilot town, Market Rasen, invites the whole of the county to come along to not one but two fantastic traditional Christmas market events, and see first-hand how the town is being transformed by one its core Portas Pilot promises of “putting the market back in Market Rasen”, with a promise of “the biggest ever daytime market in Market Rasen”.

The evening of Friday December 7th (4-9pm) will see a very traditional Christmas fair hosted by the town council and the Market Rasen & District Round Table, with school children from three local primary schools singing carols and lots of delicious food and drink to eat in the Market Place, alongside the Mayor’s charity event, which will fill the Festival Hall with stalls supporting some fantastic local causes. Click here to join the Friday Market Facebook Event Page.

This evening market will be complemented by late night opening from the Market Rasen high street, with a free prizewinning Snowman Trail for families to complete whilst taking in a unique shopping experience where almost every shop is an independent trader offering a warm and personal welcome. Between the high street shops and the market stalls, visitors are guaranteed a huge choice of gifts, in addition to plenty of places to eat and drink once the shopping is done.

The next day, Saturday 8th December (9-4pm), will see the biggest ever daytime market in Market Rasen, presented by MR BIG, the team behind the Portas Pilot work.

Volunteer market director Jackie Smith confirms there will be over 70 stalls in the town, “In addition to the Market Place, we’re really putting the ‘festive’ into Festival Hall, with more hand made, home made arts & craft stalls than ever before, plus a pop-up Happy Café serving delicious drinks and snacks with a chance to put your feet up over a cuppa, and more stalls in the car park too.”

Many stalls offer the finest Lincolnshire food to feast upon over Christmas, much of which will also be available in Greens of Lincolnshire, MR BIG’s new fruit and veg shop opening on Queen Street, just ahead of the markets, yet another reason to visit Market Rasen this Christmas. Click here to join the Saturday Market Facebook Event Page.

It’s been an amazing year for Market Rasen. Beating over 360 towns to become one of the 12 original Portas Pilots back in May. The smallest town among the winners has possibly made the biggest strides with a vibrant market already taking expressions of interest for its dates in 2013 and their second Big Corner Shop also about to open to sell locally made arts, crafts and gifts.

There are many ways to get to Market Rasen, aside from by car into one of several free car parks. The is also a train station stop off between Lincoln and Grimsby and the town is part of the No 3 Bus Route, or a Call Connect Bus can be booked 0845 2343344 (which operates until 7pm on Friday).

Stay in the loop… SUBSCRIBE to our blog posts on email to always get the latest news first. Click here to Subscribe to Market Rasen BIG by Email.


Another way to talk to MR BIG…

Nicola Marshall, the new town centre manager, with her open house session every Friday morning at the Big Corner Shop, 27 Market Place.

There’s a new way to talk to MR BIG, so we thought we should let you all know about it, and remind you of the many ways you can also reach the Portas Pilot Town Team or find out what the group is doing.

The new option happens each Friday morning, when our new town centre manager, Nicola Marshall, hosts an ‘open house’ in our new retail space, 27 Market Square (the old Halifax building). Anyone can drop in to ask any questions on the project.

If you wish to write to MR BIG, you can pop a letter through the door of the aforementioned 27 Market Square, or hand one into the high street business where our volunteer directors work (The Advocate, Rasen Hardware & DIY, Nicholsons Accountants). Please include your name and phone number so we can get back to you.

If you are online, you can look at our blog, our Facebook page  and Twitter account These pages have the most up to date news, and on them we answer comments each day. You can even subscribe to the blog to get our latest post emailed to you.

You can also email MR BIG on

MR BIG’s newsletters in the town library

We also keep a full set of documents in the reference section of the town library (and have done since the project began in March) explaining everything we are doing. This public resource was joined in the summer by a notice board in the window of the former Arena Cafe, and newsletters are also now available in cafes, pubs and salons in the town so people can buy local and read about the Portas Pilot.

Or you can use this form below!

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Market Rasen’s Portas Pilot trials TikTap Loyalty App

Mark Barnes (far right) from TikTap with Sarah Lamballe (2nd from right) of MR BIG, with some of the 22 Market Rasen traders now signed up to offer discounts and voutchers throught TikTap, the innovative new smarpthone app. Pictured left to right are Claire Korzon Farrow of Touches Beauty, Liz Ventham of Market Rasen Hardware, Mike Coleman of Wild One Tours, Louise Manders of Sunnside Up Farmshop & Tea Room, Wendy Harrison of Blue River Jewellery and Irene Ward Kendall of Wold View Tea rooms

Lincolnshire’s Portas Pilot town, Market Rasen, along with a select number of other towns in the UK, has been awarded the opportunity to introduce a local loyalty programme designed and built by the same people behind the highly successful Orange Wednesdays cinema campaign. TikTap aims to do the same for Market Rasen’s high street as parent company 2ergo has done for cinemas.

Across the UK, businesses, high streets and town centres are looking to build loyalty and encourage increased spend and repeat visits. Sarah Lamballe and Sara Scott of Market Rasen Business Group (MR BIG) saw the opportunity presented by TikTap and negotiated for up to 30 Market Rasen businesses to take advantage of this new loyalty and reward system with no hardware or licence fees for a year.

How the offer appears on the smartphone, ‘Tik’ the ones that appeal. Then when you pop into the shop, just “Tap” your mobile phone over an electronic ‘pod’ to redeem the offer.

Simply by using the free TikTap app on their smart phones (iPhone or Android) residents and visitors can discover the benefits of shopping locally and recirculating spend in the local economy whilst the latest technology creates useful reports and additional intelligence for retailers.

“We are really thrilled to be working with TikTap to bring this exciting, new loyalty scheme to Market Rasen” said Sarah “especially as we’ve had such a positive response from so many of our high street retailers. Producing paper based offers is costly and not great for the environment, so this new app is smart on every level, it helps us deliver our Portas Pilot promises without eating into our budget”

“We’re also delighted that we’ve had such a positive response from Market Rasen Racecourse, where we did a soft launch of TikTap at the Prelude meeting on Saturday 29th September. There was an amazing crowd, and a fabulous day’s racing. As a local attraction, the racecourse brings 75,000 visitors a year to the town and have pledged their support in promoting TIkTap to the race-going public, – so it should have a really positive effect for our other retailers as more people discover the app.”

It’s so easy to use. Consumers simply download the TikTap app for free from iTunes or Google Android stores. It then stores details of all live offers in the area on their iPhone or Android – users ‘Tik’ the ones that appeal. Then when they pop into the shop, they simply “Tap” their mobile phones over an electronic ‘pod’ to redeem the offer, bridging the gap between online, mobile and high street shopping.

The opportunity to kick start the scheme with 30 pods is on a first come first serve basis and with 22 business already signed up, including the 2 MR BIG town shops, there is a last minute opportunity for local businesses to express interest by emailing or calling Sarah on 07974 194888.

Claire Korzon Farrow at Touches Beauty Salon, Market Rasen, with her TikTap pod. Touches is offering half price sun bed lotion, a free fruity nail file and Shellac hands or feet via three separate offers on the new smarphone app

Commenting on the link-up with Market Rasen Business Group, Michael Dougherty from TikTap said “We’ve been really impressed with the publicity Market Rasen has received at a national level. Despite being the smallest Portas Pilot town, it has been seen to make some of the quickest and biggest improvements.

“Their revitalisation of the market should play a big part in bringing new customers into town from neighbouring towns and TikTap can help those new and existing shoppers to discover the high street whilst here.

“What’s more the proximity of the racecourse will allow us to measure the effect a major local attraction can have too. We look forward to seeing what compelling, enticing offers can achieve with measurable results all via a simple smartphone app together with the unique TikTap pod.”

To find out more visit or contact MR BIG’s Sarah Lamballe on 07974 194888 or TikTap’s Partnership Manager, Mark Barnes, on 07818 596460 or email

And for people without Smartphones?

Mark Barnes, TikTap’s Partnership Manager, takes up this point:

“Currently only a system that uses smartphones can offer instant rewards plus business benefits such as monitoring and reporting. There are solutions that use points and rewards for collection later but these are all costly for the business meaning that many will not participate and the offer would not exist anyway and to anyone. There are lower tech solutions that can offer instant rewards but these are unsustainable and provide few long term benefits to users and businesses. Without the TikTap & MR BIG relationship there probably would be no form of shop local scheme in Market Rasen with or without a smartphone.

“The majority of people upgrading or replacing mobile phones will end up with smart phones even if they don’t aspire to have one. Currently 65% of the population can take advantage of this offer many more will be able to in the next few weeks and months.

“Bring it all back to cost, the perfect system is far too expensive for most towns and cities and I am not sure that money could buy the system that is fully inclusive. Use the savings locally to upgrade and start doing what we will all be doing in the next few years; living all aspects of our lives through smartphones.”

How is Market Rasen’s Portas Pilot doing?

Click here to read our full FAQ and Progress Report

Market Rasen #MonsterMarket in Photos

Once again a successful MR BIG Market thanks to so many people!

One of the winning Pumpkins from Paul (aged 40 + from Laceby!). Paul’s family were time visitors to the town, and his wife Julie told us: “We will definitely visit Market Rasen again- on a warmer, drier day!! It is a lovely place and I don’t know why we haven’t ever stopped by there before. Congratulations on what I suspect was a very successful day!”

A huge thank you to the support of our market traders, especially those like Kim Baker (Medical Herbalist) who dressed up for the event

Big thanks to our volunteer Face Painters Kathy and Vidge who did a brilliant job transforming the kids into witches, pumpkins and vampires!

Professional magician Rod Hammond delighted everyone with his card tricks and balloon animals

Our Amazing ‘Monster’ Librarian Mel (from Market Rasen library) entertained the kids with storytime in the Market Square. “It’s a GRUFFALO!”

Fabulous firework artwork from Maisie (age nine) who helped our Monster Librarians provide this free craft table in the Festival Hall

This wood fired pizza oven came to the market for the first time and proved a big hit

A row of fantastic carved pumpkins for our competition

Fancy dress winner Emma. Big thank you to Louise at Garnetts sweetshop for donating the fancy dress prizes

Fancy Dress winner Jo

Our other fancy dress winners, Ella and Ryan

Thanks as ever to our army of volunteers, who make every market a huge success through hours of work, so much behind the scenes. If you like what we’re doing in the town, and want to volunteer too, just click this link to fill in a form. We’d love to have you on board…

Make me a MR BIG Volunteer


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Get involved with our Portas Pilot…

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