Tag Archives: PortasPilot

Mr Big Trader and Business Newsletter – April Round Up

Thank you to those of you who were able to make it to the meeting last Monday. Although turnout was low, it was a positive and interactive meeting. We were able to learn a lot about how you think MR BIG is doing and where you think we need to put our energy over the next few months to make things even better.

Firstly, we heard you say that we need to advertise our events and meetings more: not just via email and social media but in flyers and posters that we hand out to you in person. We will get on with this straight away.

We know we need to do more to update you with more frequent newsletters: again, with a hard copy, posted up publicly and available in the Library to complement our wide-reaching social media. We will be getting a newsletter together in the next few weeks.

You would like to see more of MR BIG in person, on the High Street and around town. The Town Team will endeavour to visit all the High Street shops and businesses more frequently: just a quick hello is sometimes all that’s needed. Thank you for suggesting this.

Pop into see Nicola at the Big Corner Shop on Fridays or arrange an appointment with a director

Pop into see Nicola at the Big Corner Shop, 27a The Market Place at the Friday morning ‘open surgery’.

Remember that we do still have an open ‘surgery’ on a Friday morning: call into the Big Corner Shop and ask for Nicola the Town Centre Manager. You can also make an appointment to talk to one of the Directors. Just let us know.

Membership benefits are important and we are reviewing what we offer to MR BIG members. Feedback from you is that you would like a website with members’ businesses and shops listed; and more training and Business to Business networking events. We will get a B 2 B event organised and invite you along; we are happy to organise and facilitate these events so that you can share expertise and ideas; we can book motivational and expert speakers too.

There are a couple of quick wins which we will sort out: we will organise a Mystery Shopper programme for the towns businesses and shops – but only if you want to take part: it’s not obligatory. We’re hoping to have some funding from the Government to pay for this in the next couple of months. Additionally, we’ll get some temporary signs for our free car parks organised for MR BIG market days; we’ll talk to Highways about a longer-term answer to the poor car park signage, including ‘brown’ signs at the two main junctions with the A46.

The appearance of the town is really important to you: as it is to MR BIG. We have done what we can so far with the budget we have and have contracted Community Payback once a month until the end of the year. Our budget for Town Tidy Up is £4,000 for the duration of the Portas Project: this equates to roughly £7.30 for every commercial property in the town centre. The Community Payback contract will cost around £2000 for a year. We have written to West Lindsey District Council for financial support and are waiting to hear from them.

We are not able to justify using public money to re-paint and improve buildings which are in private ownership. However, we can explore negotiating discounts for labour and materials. We’d really like to do more and to help businesses paint and improve their buildings. We have written to owners and landlords of buildings which need attention and we should have some feedback from this exercise soon. Realistically we will have to wait to see the outcome of our X Fund bid (we should hear about mid-May) to see if we will have more funds which could then be allocated to a programme of painting and general tidying up. We will of course let you know as soon as we hear.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Please contact the Town Team on 01673 84 94 40 or email mrbigtowncentremanager@hotmail.com to get in touch.

Magic comes to Market Rasen’s BIG May Market – Sat 4th

Market Rasen’s BIG Magical Market for May is only a couple of days away! So to get you in the magical mood we’re having a Pop Up Cinema experience on the high street, on Friday 3rd May at 4pm, we’ll be screening Tangled FREE for children at 10a Queen Street (previously Indulgence) with a few tuck shop treats to buy – well, it just wouldn’t be the same without popcorn!

Market Rasen gets Magical - Saturday 4th May from 9am

Market Rasen gets Magical – Saturday 4th May from 9am

The Magical Market itself will kick off around 9am in the Market Place and Festival Hall – we’ve got some new banners and arrows to direct visitors along to Festival Hall so they really sample all the delights Market Rasen has to offer.

Each of the 35+ stalls on the market place will have a poster promoting Festival Hall too, we’d love any of our lovely high street independents to run special market day offers too (please tell us what they are on our Facebook page so we can share them for you with all our followers on Twitter too) and if you have any flyers or leaflets please pop them along to the Big Corner Shop so we can share there too. As you can see we’re trying super hard to encourage footfall all around town, with new banners for the auction shed, we want to attract visitors to take advantage of Market Rasen’s free parking.

We’re delighted to add FREE face painting for children to the fun filled drop in circus skills workshops on the Market Place, laid on for us by the talented team at Party Workshops once again, so kids can try their hands at juggling, unicycling and lots more. Most exciting of all is thanks to lovely Louise from Market Rasen’s iconic Queen St sweet shop, Garnett’s, we’ll have the first ice cream van of the season. So that means spring is officially launched at Market Rasen’s Magical May Market with delicious Lincolnshire ice cream from Dennett’s available from around 11am – so there’s plenty of time to have a bacon butty in Ffeisty’s Festival Hall Happy Cafe first, then pop back for a Hog Roast lunch!

Last month’s Grand National market was a great success and we’re hoping that the sun will shine on the magical delights we have in store for you in May, including a fancy dress competition open to all shop keepers, stall holders and children!

Great montage of Instagram images from our Big April Grand National Market

Great montage of Instagram images from our Big April Grand National Market

Delicious eats and treats abound with local favourites Propa Pies, Parvins, Jenny’s Jams, Goatwood Dairy Cheese, Green Dog Deli, Love from Italy, Scrubby’s Crisps, Lymn Bank Cheese, West Wold Deli, Greenfield Bakery and many many more so remember to bring your I Love Market Rasen shopping bags to fill them up with scrumptious local fayre to enjoy all bank holiday weekend.


Pitch for prime Portas Pilot retail – Greens of Lincolnshire is on the market

Awarded 9/10 and declared “absolutely brilliant” by Mary Portas in her Saturday Telegraph
, two weeks ago, Greens of Lincolnshire, Market Rasen’s highly acclaimed fresh and local fruit and veg shop, is now being offered as a business opportunity to whoever can show the leadership and vision to guarantee its success.

Mary Portas in Greens of Lincolnshire

Mary Portas sampling the fresh local produce in Greens of Lincolnshire, during her visit to the town in February 2013

Launched last December with funds from Market Rasen’s winning Portas Pilot bid to plug a gap on the high street, Greens is already so much more than just a fruit and veg shop. Described by the Queen of Shops as “chic and appetising”, this prime spot on Queen Street is beautifully merchandised with baskets of locally sourced fresh produce and the best of Lincolnshire artisan foods. Jams and chutneys, sauces, herbs, pickles, oils and spices are displayed to stunning effect on shabby chic dressers and crates, with local cheeses, salads, soups and quiches filling the chiller and fresh daily breads, cakes and quiches, all delivered by a loyal, established supplier base.

9 out of 10 for Greens of Lincolnshire

Mary Portas Queen of Shops gives Greens of Lincolnshire 9 out of 10 in her column in Saturday Telegraph Magazine

In addition to excellent footfall, Greens has a successful box scheme delivering weekly £10 and £15 fruit and veg boxes for an additional fee for customers who can’t make it on to the high street. Already a Select Lincolnshire member and destination store, there is huge potential to develop this business and expand the overall offer.

“One of they key promises in our original town transformation plan was sustainable shopping,” explains MR BIG Chair, Sara Scott.

“So whilst we’ve been happy to get Greens on its feet as a must-have part of our High Street offer, it’s time for our team to move on and look at more innovative ways to fill empty premises with vital services that drive footfall for other retailers and create opportunities in our community.”

Richard Hallsworth, BIG Finance Director also commented “We are particularly interested in passing this over to a Social enterprise, run for the community, by the community.  But we are also happy to receive interest from private parties with the passion to ensure the success of this vital retail anchor on our high street.”

Sara adds ” Yes we are breaking the mould. But this isn’t a money making initiative. We set up Greens to fill a gap on the high street and to create a home for local artisan produce. We want the shop to be a success – but our team was never intended to become shopkeepers. So Greens is on the market – the ‘sale’ may enable us to recoup some of the Portas monies invested – which in turn would enable us to continue to target other much needed transformative projects on the high street. The big picture being to drive the additional footfall that spells success for all Rasen’s retailers and businesses.

“As per our EOI notice – we’re keen to see Greens pass to another social enterprise and we’d flex terms to make this as easy and achieveable as possible.  But we’re mindful of the fact that this might not be realistic – and so happy to consider interest from commercially minded people, on commercial terms.

“The biggest consideration for us will be whether or not the interested parties or groups have the vision and determination to see Greens succeed for the long term.  We want Lincolnshire people to be able to buy the finest Lincolnshire produce direct from the High Street.”

Jayne Cartwright, Charity Retail Consultant tweets about Mary's Greens article

Jayne Cartwright, Charity Retail Consultant tweets about Mary’s Greens article. She is a great support of Mr Big

Mary Portas says there’s only one way to save our high streets – get involved. So do you have the passion and desire to step up and build on Green’s phenomenal success and help sustain the revitalisation of Market Rasen?

For more information please email MR BIG Town Centre Manager Nicola Marshall mrbigtowncentremanager@hotmail.com

Shortlisted candidates will asked to pitch their business plan and vision to a panel of 3 MR BIG directors.

Expressions of interest deadline 5pm Friday 5th April.