The hugely successful launch of the Taunton Independent Market on Castle Green, on Sunday 8 March, sadly seems a lifetime ago. It was back during a time when we could freely amble around our lovely town with friends and family, drink coffee and enjoy delicious street food all whilst upbeat music played in the background. More than 7000 people came into Taunton Town Centre, on a slightly stormy Sunday morning, to peruse the 65 market stalls that filled Castle Green selling local products.
Fast forward 7 weeks and the world is a very different place. Not deterred by the current Covid19 restrictions preventing the April Market from taking place, and riding high on the success of Taunton’s first Independent Market, organiser Michelle Beck of By Invitation Events, has set up an online directory of traders and the opportunity to buy artisan goods from local traders, online. With over 20 artisan food and drink producers already signed up to the shop, showcasing in almost 200 local products ranging from cheese, meat, award winning pies, scotch eggs, cakes, gin, cider, bread and much more - there is sure to be something for everyone.
There will be twice weekly deliveries to TA1, TA2 and TA3 residents initially, with the first delivery planned for Wednesday 13th May. It is anticipated that the delivery area will expand to other postcodes in the Taunton Deane area soon and there is already a fleet of 15 delivery drivers and their vehicles lined up to help.
Michelle said, “This has been a testing time when lots of businesses have had to re-think their ways of working. At the Taunton Independent Market we decided very quickly that we would take the market on-line, following such positive feedback from traders and customers alike. The market launch in March was an enormous success and we knew that it was exactly what our County Town needed.
We are hugely grateful to our media partners Daffodil PR and Taunton based brand agency Think! Associates who, together have built us a full e-commerce website selling goods from over 25 sellers and a comprehensive stallholder directory. Also thanks must go to Company Spaces in the centre of Taunton who are allowing us to use their wonderful space as a depot, Gibbins Richards Estate Agents for sponsoring our Taunton Independent Market reusable cotton bags, Viper Gin for providing us with hand sanitiser and special thanks to our main sponsor Taunton School who have made full-face visors to protect our packers and delivery drivers.”
The plan is that, once the Covid19 restrictions are relaxed in coming months, the Taunton independent Market online will continue to run alongside the monthly markets on Castle Green.
Please visit www.tauntonmarket.co.uk
Somerset Day 365 have launched a major new initiative to help people find independent local suppliers of all types of food, drink and produce and takeaways.
The new listing is featured with an interactive map on the Somerset Day website.
Denys Rayner, Chairman of Somerset Day CIC said “Many people have said how difficult it can be to find out where they can order, and in many cases get delivered, groceries. Knowing where you can buy good local produce has become even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Somerset Day Community Interest Company are encouraging consumers and businesses to recommend additional businesses they know of to add to the list and these can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor of Taunton, Cllr Fran Smith, has made her first virtual appearance at the opening of the Wilton and Sherford Community Shop.
The Mayor appeared by video link at the opening in the Churchill Meeting Hall, Middleway, on Easter Monday. The shop, registered as a Community Interest Company, is being run by volunteers to help local residents with access to basic provisions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was established with a grant of £1,500 from the Charter Trustees for Taunton Unparished Area Grant Fund. A further £1,000 from the Somerset Community Foundation will be used to provide much needed stock.
Cllr Smith said: “This is a much needed local shop in an area with a high number of older members of the population.
It’s wonderful to see people rally round to support each other and those in need during the current crisis, and I was delighted to be able to take part in the official opening while still observing advice on social distancing.”
Wilton and Sherford CIC Director, Natalie Dyson, said: “It really is utterly unbelievable to think what our little team has achieved in under two weeks.
We set up a not for profit Community Interest Company, obtained start-up funding, recruited volunteers, opened a business bank account, appointed accountants, built relationships with stockists, begged and borrowed from all over Taunton and were met with incredible kindness by the people who donated things,
Really I am humbled beyond belief at the amazing skill set we have between us and the camaraderie we have developed. I’d like to give a big shout out to every individual and all the businesses and organisations that have helped to make this happen.”
The shop will provide a convenient local drop-in facility for residents to pick up basic provisions including groceries, household items and toiletries
The volunteers can also arrange to deliver items to the community of Wilton and Sherford which has a high proportion of older members of the population.
All items will be sold on a not for profit basis.
A small business owner will go the extra mile to make you happy. Local businesses are owned by your neighbours and friends. They care about you and are invested in your community.
A national chain will sell hundreds or thousands of identikit products. Local stores sell unique merchandise in smaller numbers so you will buy something truly individual.
It supports the arts
Small local businesses support creativity! Look for art on display created by local artists. These are one-of-a-kind pieces you won’t find anywhere else.
It helps the local economy
The money you spend in a local business stays within your town and community, thus improving its future.
Instead of purchasing items from national chains, try to purchase things from a business local to your area.
Buy a gift or a gift card at a local business in your area and give to a friend, family member, or co-worker. This will introduce the company to someone new and allow for the “shop local” mantra to spread.
Promote their business! If you like a particular shop or independent restaurant share and like their social media accounts. Spread the word.
Give them a great review. Send them a thank you. Say why you love them and let them share your testimonial.
You boost the local economy
For every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.
You increase the value of your home
High streets populated with thriving independent businesses boost the prices of nearby homes. Discount stores and charity shops decrease home values in the area.
It is more ethical
When you shop at local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green grocers, it is likely that a decent percentage of the produce has had a short field-to-fork journey. As a bonus it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and have less packaging.
You support local entrepreneurs
Head for your local artisan market. These help foster the talents of the next generation of British designers and retailers. There is a constant turnover of new products, and sellers listen to customers’ demands. From food to fledgling clothing designers there will be something for everyone.
You help to build your local community
Bookshops, cafés and craft shops often drum up custom by hosting events, from reading groups to knitting clubs and children’s events. If local businesses are not supported, these fun local groups tend to disappear too.
You might get a better deal or some good advice
Local independent businesses can use their discretion to reward regular custom. Butchers will give advice on cooking times, and how large a joint you might need to feed a family get-together, with some leftovers. Get to know your local traders.