Tag Archives: Small Businesses

Market Rasen BIG Christmas rewards

Look out for this sign for participating High Street retailers.

Visitors and residents were encouraged to look out for this sign for participating High Street retailers.

Mr BIG encouraged traders to participate in a loyalty reward scheme this year, with cards being delivered to thousands of homes around Market Rasen in the weeks before the promotion began.  Shoppers could collect stamps on their Christmas Tree card at participating shops, for spending £5 in the shop. The first prize in the draw was an amazing prize of £1000 travel voucher was very generously sponsored by Lincolnshire Co-operative, who have been so supportive of the town and town events to match the £500 donated by Mr BIG.  Eleven of the high street retailers donated prizes to a minimum value of £50 each. “It was brilliant,” said Bridget Pitman-Brand, owner of the Market Rasen pet shop.  “It really, really worked.  People were coming into my shop to buy cat food simply because of the loyalty card – they usually buy elsewhere.” The big draw took place on Christmas Eve outside the Lincolnshire Co-operative Travel Shop in Market Rasen, and the first prize of a £1000 travel voucher was awarded to Vikki Bakin and a lot of other prizes were won by people all over the town.

Shop with Market Rasen’s High Street Indies for a chance to win £1000 Holiday & £400 runners-up prizes!

Mr Big and Lincolnshire Co-op launched My Market Rasen this week with the chance for loyal high street shoppers to WIN £1000 holiday voucher plus £400 in runners-up prizes.

Marc Butler, Lincs Co-op Market Rasen Travel Manager, Helen Martin, Community Liaison Representative, Lincolnshire Co-op Market Rasen, Sadie Richardson, Mr Big Apprentice.

Marc Butler, Lincs Co-op Market Rasen Travel Manager, Helen Martin, Community Liaison Representative, Lincolnshire Co-op Market Rasen and Sadie Richardson, Mr Big Apprentice at the launch of My Market Rasen Christmas.

A BIG ‘buy local’ campaign kicked off this Tuesday outside Lincolnshire Co-operative’s Travel Shop in Market Rasen. A loyalty card scheme is being piloted to encourage residents to shop with Market Rasen independents on the high street in the run up to Christmas.10 of Market Rasen’s high st indies have donated a prize of a minimum value of £50 each. Participating independent high street retailers will give customers a sticker for their card when they spend at least £5 in one transaction up until 23rd December.

Lincolnshire Co-op Food Store in Market Rasen is kindly giving out loyalty cards but the stickers are to collected along the high street independents (as well as the Lincolnshire Market Rasen Travel Shop) as the cost of creating enough stickers for the Co-op to take part would be unsupportable and not in keeping with the scheme’s very strong ethos about supporting the high street itself.

My Market Rasen Loyalty Card

Grab your My Market Rasen loyalty card along the High Street, in the Co-op or look out for it coming through your door!

In addition 4000 cards are being distributed door to door across LN8, with a further 1000 in the retailers’ shops themselves, so the potential to attract new customers into Market Rasen and encourage more spending from existing customers is strong.

Shops taking part who have donated runners-up prizes are:

Little Milberry – £50 voucher
Market Rasen Pet Centre – 5 x £10 vouchers
Greens Of Lincolnshire – 10 x £15 veg boxes for just £10 each
Rumpelstiltskin Kitchen and Furniture Shop – £50 voucher
Market Rasen Hardware Store – Large Log Basket
The Pink Pod – £50 voucher
Forget Me Not Florist – 2 x £25 voucher
Blue River Jewellery – 5 x £10 voucher
Isn’t She Lovely – 5 x £10 voucher
Lancasters (15 & 47 Queen St) – 1 x £25 voucher for each shop

The generosity of high street retailers is matched with a HUGE 1st prize to be drawn on Christmas Eve outside Lincolnshire Co-operative Travel Shop in Market Rasen, giving one lucky shopper the ultimate Christmas gift of £1000 holiday from Lincolnshire Co-op who have donated £500 matched by Mr Big.

The runners-up prizes will be drawn by each of the retailers in their high street stores on Christmas Eve morning, creating a real buzz of excitement along the high street at this magical time.

Mr Big Director Sarah Lamballe told us, “We were thrilled that Ursula Lidbetter, now Chairman of the Co-operative Group, warmly received the idea we put to Wayne Dennet and has given us her full support by backing the idea with very generous sponsorship which shows how important it is to recognise the value of ‘local shopping’ at the heart of any community.”

Look out for this sign for participating High Street retailers.

Look out for the ‘My Market Rasen’ sign for participating Indie High Street retailers.

Sarah added “This is just the beginning of MY MARKET RASEN which we hope to develop in 2014
with all our retailers and service providers coming on board to excite residents and visitors with unique special offers”.

Mr Big would like to thank Lincolnshire Co-operative with special mentions to Ursula Lidbetter, Wayne Dennett, Chris Cocking and Amanda Chesson for their huge positivity and support.

We’d also like to thank Leesa of Little Milberry, Bridget of Market Rasen Pet Centre, Maria of Greens of Lincolnshire, Colin of Rumplestiltskin, Ken and Sue of Market Rasen Hardware, Anna of The Pink Pod, Richard and Gill of Forget Me Not Florist, Wendy of Blue River Jewellery, Maria of Isn’t She Lovely and Richard of Lancasters for being early adopters of ‘My Market Rasen’ and we’d love to hear from any of our other high street retailers who would like to join in future ideas for 2014.

These terms and conditions govern your participation in the My Market Rasen Christmas Loyalty Card Scheme.

By taking part in the My Market Rasen loyalty scheme you are agreeing to the Terms and Conditions. My Market Rasen may refuse an application for any good reason. If you wish to do so, please print and retain a copy of these Terms for your reference.

1. Subject to these Terms, a completed My Market Rasen Loyalty Card entitles the bearer (you) entry into the prize draw.

2. To claim a sticker you must show your Loyalty Card: at the till point of the participating shop when making a purchase of £5 or more with a maximum of 2 stickers per transaction.

3. The closing date for the prize draw is 5pm on the 23rd of December, any cards submitted after this point will not be entered into the prize draw.

4. There will be one winner who will win a £1,000 holiday voucher. There will be …. Winners who will win the runners up prizes which are listed on the My Market Rasen Loyalty Card.

5. Prizes will be awarded to entries picked at random by an independent person on the 24th December at 10am, the 23rd of December is the last day in which completed cards can be handed in to participating retailers.

6. Each winner will be contacted by telephone within 21 days of, and receive their prize by going into the participating retailer no later than 28 days after, the Prize Draw Date.

7. If a winner for a Draw Period cannot be contacted using reasonable efforts within 21 days from the Prize Draw Date for that Draw Period, then an alternative winner will be drawn from the entries.

8. The prizes must be accepted as offered. There is no cash alternative. Market Rasen Business Improvement Group reserves the right to award an alternative prize of equal or greater value, should the advertised prize or any part of it become unavailable.

9. The result of the prize draws is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

10. The name will be available on request to all entrants in the prize draws by sending a stamp addressed envelope to Market Rasen Business Improvement Group, 27 Newton House, Market Place, Market Rasen, LN8 3HL and may be posted online.

11. Each winner may be required to participate in reasonable press or PR activity related to the prize draw as notified by us.

12. All entrants to the prize draw will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions.

13. No responsibility is accepted for entries, which fail to be properly submitted for any technical reason whatsoever. Entries submitted by any other means will be rejected.

14. The My Market Rasen Loyalty Card has no cash redemption value.

15. The list of participating shops is published on the Market Rasen Guide website. My Market Rasen reserves the right to amend the list of participating shops at any time and will give notice of changes via www.marketrasenguide.co.uk.

16. The My Market Rasen Loyalty Card remains the property of Market Rasen Business Improvement Group at all times. Market Rasen Business Improvement Group reserves the right at any time to:
a. alter these Terms
b. withdraw the Loyalty Scheme and/or an individual’s My Market Rasen Loyalty Card.

17. Market Rasen Business Improvement Group may take any action it considers appropriate, including withdrawing an individual’s My Market Rasen Loyalty Card, if it has reason to believe that an individual is abusing the Scheme or is in breach of these Terms.

18. Each participating shop reserves the right to withdraw from the Scheme at any time.

19. My Market Rasen Loyalty Card is not responsible, and shall not be held liable, for products and services offered and sold by participating shops. Products and services are offered according to that shop’s own terms and conditions.

20. Stickers are only available for purchases made in the outlet of participating shops and are not available via their respective websites.

21. A copy of these Terms can be found at www.marketrasenguide.co.uk. In some cases, individual participating shops may have their own additional terms & conditions in relation to the Scheme, which also form part of these Terms.

22. By handing in your full loyalty card consent Market Rasen Business Improvement Group contacting you, including via email, to tell you about other events, promotions and activities in the Market Rasen area. You may opt out of receiving such communications at any time.

23. Market Rasen Business Improvement Group will not pass on your personal information to third parties, except as may be required for the purposes of administering the Scheme.

24. The My Market Rasen Loyalty Card is promoted by Market Rasen Business Improvement Group, company number 08171841. Registered address Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN.

25. If you wish to contact Market Rasen Business Improvement Group for any reason please email mrbigapprentice@gmail.com. If a My Market Rasen Loyalty Card is found it should be returned to 27 Newton House, Market Rasen, LN8 3HL.

26. These Terms are governed by the laws of England and Wales.

MR BIG ASKS… Marie Spence

Marie Spence is the owner of Isn’t She Lovely. This lady’s boutique opened on Market Rasen’s Union Street during the summer, with another boutique already successfully doing business in Brigg. We caught up with Marie to see how things are going and what she makes of Market Rasen so far.

We started by asking Marie when the business started and what brought her to Market Rasen. “Isn’t She Lovely started in December 2011 in Brigg. We opened here (in Rasen) on June the 20th this year. I think the thing is I’d been to Rasen a few times and it’s a super little place. I knew there were lovely shops here but nothing that we were selling in Brigg so, with not a lot of competition here, certainly for my area of the market, I started looking round for units. I spoke to MR BIG and I spoke to some Landlords and I was offered some really good rates.”

Isn’t She Lovely has been in Market Rasen for just over three months now and with all that promise we asked Marie what business has been like so far. “Well, in spite of all that it was still a bit of a risk. I avoided the high street because the rent is just that bit higher and I was wary of the fact that there were empty shops in the town. But it’s gone well so far. Thursdays are our best days. That’s when we’re busiest. But it is very early yet. It takes a couple of years to really get established and nurture a customer base and customer loyalty.”

As a newcomer, Marie is well placed to give an objective view of MR BIG so we asked what she’s made of the scheme so far. “I would say I’ve heard some mixed reviews since I’ve been here. But I know from the changes that have taken place in Brigg over the years that these things take time.”

With Marie running shops in both Market Rasen and Brigg, she was quick to elaborate on the similarities between the two towns. She said, “I remember when Brigg was first pedestrianised and there were a few problems. A lot of traders claimed that it hurt their businesses because people couldn’t park outside. It was a bit like Tesco coming to Market Rasen. Some people feel that it takes business away from the town centre but it also brings people to Market Rasen that might not otherwise have come. In any case we need supermarkets these days. That’s just part of 21st century life.” She continued, “if more shops open in the centre as well then people will only be encouraged to do even more of their shopping locally, here in Rasen, especially if the town has greater variety and more things that people can’t get elsewhere, as well as the basic things that they need. And, of course, the free parking is a big draw too. It’s one of the other things that encouraged me to open here. Anyway, I would suggest the scheme is definitely something good to start with but it does take time.”

Marie also has a suggestion that she feels could benefit all of the town’s traders, not least of all those on Union Street. “I think one improvement that is certainly worth looking into is some better signage. Union Street street is an important link up in the town with Tesco and the train station one end and the high street at the other. You also have all the traders along Union Street and the car park. So Union Street and the high street really feed into one another and I think it would be great to get some signage at either end pointing people towards or at least through Union Street. We get quite a few tourists and visitors in this area and signage just encourages people to go a bit further and explore a bit more.”

Marie clearly has long term plans to stay in Market Rasen but what of the short term future? What next for Isn’t She Lovely? “Right now we’re planning to do something for the Christmas period. All through December we’re looking to open eight till eight, one day a week, probably Thursdays.”

The welcome addition of Isn’t She Lovely to the town could well be a sign of the burgeoning improvements and certainly gives cause for optimism. Marie’s input too looks likely to be an important gain. But what do you think? Have you spotted any similarities between Market Rasen and other towns and cities, promising or otherwise? Do you think the town would benefit from better signposting? And would you like to see other businesses offering eight to eight and late night shopping through the Christmas period? As ever, let us know with a comment here or on our facebook page or twitter.

MR BIG ASKS… Anna Finney

To many people in Market Rasen Anna Finney is now a familiar face on the high street, with her popular boutique, The Pink Pod, drawing several customers to the Big Corner Shop before Anna struck out on her own and reopened The Pod further up the high street in the unit that formerly housed Scoops. But, despite her seemingly well established status on the high street, it may come as some surprise to learn just how recent and exponential Anna’s rise has been. We visited the Pod for a catch up.

We began by asking when The Pod started. “The Pod started September last year (2012). At first it was just a very simple idea. I wanted to sell some pieces of furniture from home but as the winter months approached obviously I didn’t just want furniture sat outside my house. So I started selling some Christmas items inside and quite quickly I found myself in a position to get into a unit because of the opportunity came along with the Corner Shop and MR BIG.”

Now that Anna’s left the Big Corner Shop and settled into the new unit, we asked how business has been of late. “So far, so good. It’s still a risk though. I think I need a full year to really know for sure whether I’m doing what I need to be. But there are two things that I’ve really benefited from. The exposure that I got from being a part of the Big Corner Shop is hugely important. Exposure is everything really. The main thing, though, are my wonderful, wonderful customers. They’re the ones who drive me, encourage me and keep my door open.”

Anna has also had some success with using facebook to her advantage. We asked how she’s made the most of the internet. “Again, the exposure is great. To be honest, I’m a complete technophobe, though. I don’t really know how I’ve managed it. I was so proud I even managed to upload a picture onto facebook.”

During our visit we noticed a number of Christmas related stock around The Pod, including trees. We asked if Anna has already made some Christmas sales. “Yeah, I’ve got some bits in for Christmas already and they’re starting to go alright. I have had some business there. The small, stocking filler items have been really popular so far. Also, if anyone’s interested, I’m a pretty mean gift wrapper, as long as it’s not one of those trees.”

With business in full swing, we wondered if Anna gets any time to unwind a bit, so we asked if her if she has a book on the go at the moment. “I do, actually. I’m reading The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. I’ve just started it but in the few little quiet moments that I get here I do treat myself to a few pages. The trouble is I’m finding it so good I got startled the other day. A customer came up to the till with something and I didn’t even realise they were in the shop! That was a bit embarrassing.”

Finally we asked who Anna would be if she could step into somebody else’s shoes for a day. “One of the Dragons (from Dragon’s Den). Probably Peter Jones because he seems like a nice family man. I’d want to learn all their tips and secrets, see.”

Anna’s story is so far one of rapid success and in time perhaps the young entrepreneurs of the town’s future will want to be let in on a few of her best business secrets. For the time being we’d love to hear your say. Have you been to The Pink Pod? What do you think about shops getting the Christmas stock in early? And is a combination of online and high street exposure the small retail business model of the 21st Century? Once more, let us know with a comment here, on our facebook page and on twitter.

MR BIG ASKS… Stuart J. Green

Stuart is the man behind one of the latest businesses to hit the Market Rasen high street, SJG Digital.  He has also signed up as one of the brand new directors of MR BIG and we were keen to catch up with him.

First of all we asked him about the company, SJG Digital. He said, we can do anything to do with IT, mobile technology and so forth. We’re specialists with small businesses but we do have much bigger customers as well and we do different things for different people. Quite often we fit in well where businesses haven’t got an IT department or a service of their own. We come in and help people manage information and secure their data. And if there’s one thing most people have these days, it’s lots of data.”

Stuart added that he has customers all over the UK and we asked him how long the business has been running. “I started it in 1997 but I was still in the air force. I left the air force last year and that’s when I really started to expand, which is how I came to be here in Market Rasen.”

Now that he has moved in, we asked what encouraged Stuart to join MR BIG. “The town improvement scheme is basically perfect. One of the main ideas of the scheme is that absolutely everybody who’s part of it has something to offer to help businesses grow and be successful. That’s what SJG Digital is all about. We help businesses to succeed.” 

Stuart’s showroom is now open on the corner of Market Place, in the same unit previously occupied by the Big Corner Shop which has moved to The Hub on Union Street. From this location, SJG Digital is indeed offering something particularly special for the town: Wifi in the market square. “The Wifi, yes. At the moment it’s just available for the market traders in the market square. They can pop in and get a free five hour voucher any time because we’re really at the testing stage right now. But we’re looking to open up the voucher based system so that users can buy a day, a week or a month’s worth of Wifi use in the square. There’ll be slightly different schemes for the traders and the public and before long we’ll hopefully be able to roll it out for the whole of Queen Street.”

We asked how this exciting development has come about. “There’s a company called Linpop who have a Wifi mast in the Rasen area. Their aim is to deliver fibre optic broadband to rural areas and we’ve essentially teamed up to try and achieve that here.”

So what about the man himself? For a little extra insight we started by asking Stuart what book he’s reading at the moment. “What book am I reading? Well at the moment I’m getting stuck into The Jungle Is Neutral (by Freddie Spencer Chapman) which is a factual story of survival in the jungles of occupied Malaysia during WWII. The guy worked on the principal that nature doesn’t take sides, which is how he coped with the conditions. I used to be a survival instructor in the air force, you see, so I do take a special interest in such stories.” 

Finally, we asked who Stuart would like to be for just one day, if he could. “Oh, Steve Jobs. Definitely.”

So, with that, we’d like to know what you think. Are you looking forward to the availability of Wifi in the market place and possibly even the whole high street? What do you think the impact on the town and its fortunes is likely to be? Let us know by commenting here or on our facebook page or twitter feed.