Ready to Trade?

Chester Market is beginning an exciting new chapter in its history with a move to a new purpose-built market hall at the heart of the Northgate development. The vision driving the new market is to be a ‘modern traditional market’ that takes the best of the new breed of thriving city produce markets such as Borough Market in London, Barcelona market, combined with communal foodhall markets such as Altrincham and Liverpool’s Baltic.

But a market is nothing without its traders – so this is where we need you to demonstrate to us why you should be part of our plans for the new market.

This guidance has been designed to help you develop an application which in turn, can help us to evaluate your vision and plans in a consistent and fair process and select the optimum mix of traders.

 

Visualisation of the new market entrance.

Introduction

There has been a market in Chester for well over 800 years; in order to survive it has evolved and changed location but never lost its role as a well-loved asset of the city, now based in the Forum since the late sixties.

 

Never more so in the past couple of years, when following a national downturn in the popularity of markets, a decline in foot-fall at the Forum shopping centre and other factors such as the relocation of the bus interchange; meant that by 2017 the market was running at 35% occupancy and many traders reported a downturn in takings of 20-80%, with some on the brink of closure.

 

However, following a concerted strategy of council investment and marketing totalling almost £400,000 – including rent incentives, parking discounts, new food and drink stalls, website and evening opening – all contributed to renew trader confidence and the market was rejuvenated.

 

This turnaround was recognised by winning the 2020 Great British Markets award for best small indoor market with over 1million visitors in 2019 and a waiting list for market stalls.

 

2020 presented us with a whole new set of challenges but the pandemic brought the best out of everyone involved in the market – traders stepped up to serve the community offering new ways to collaborate with one another and go the extra mile to offer deliveries and ensure everyone could be served whether in person or remotely. Market staff set up a new Al Fresco eating area which enabled the popular Foodie Fridays and late opening on Saturdays to continue when permitted.

 

Here are a few reminders why Chester Market should be the top location to grow your business:

 

Chester is the No.1 retail destination in the North West, and within the top twenty nationally

HDH Vitality Ranking 2020

 

Chester is the third best place to live in the 2020 UK Hot Housing Index, and top in the North West.

Source: Property Week/CACI

 

Chester West and Chester has over 35 million day visitors and 1.5 million staying visitors

Source: STEAM Annual Report for 2018 (Global Solutions UK)

 

1.3 million people live within a 30-minute drive of Chester

Source: Census 2011

 

We have a growing £30 billion Cheshire regional economy

Source: Cheshire & Warrington LEP

The Future

In 2019 the council committed to developing a new market as part of the £70m Northgate development in the city centre and a new market hall will open in early 2022, alongside a new cinema, public square, car park; a short walk from its current home and adjacent to Storyhouse.

 

We have massive ambitions for the new market; to build on its recent success and deliver a significant step-change in environment, choice and experience. It will establish a new benchmark for city centre markets, blending traditional character, choice and value alongside innovative new approaches.

Your Challenge

The people of Chester have shared with us what matters to them about a market. We have held extensive consultation events which have informed the Chester Market Vision & Manifesto. We are setting high standards for traders, event organisers and our staff to deliver the best market possible. The vision driving the new market is to be a ‘modern traditional market.’

 

From nutrition to sustainability, creativity to inclusivity we can’t wait to open and share the good times ahead and we want only the best traders who share our ambitions to be part of the new market. It establishes the principles, quality and pricing standards and environmental imperatives for users of the market and the way the market is managed.

 

We need you to sign-up to our Market Manifesto, and demonstrate how you will play a part and work with us in partnership to deliver its key principles:

 

Good for the Planet

Good for Chester

Good for Gatherings

Good for Good Food

Good for the Community

Good for Business

 

See more at: https://newchester.market/all-good

Evaluating Applications

The selection process will be based on fair and transparent criteria and the scoring methodology will be used to assess each application equitably. The scoring will be based on the sections in the Application Form to arrive at an overall score for each application:

 

Business details and experience

 

20%
Market research and marketing strategy

 

20%
Lease terms bid and financial projections 50%

 

Stall fit-out 10%

 

 Total  100%

 

We will work with every trader, both current and those applying, to help them complete their application if they request support, as we appreciate business plans can be daunting to develop and compile.

 

For those that are unsuccessful, we will offer feedback to explain the reasons for our decision and where they may have fallen short of the selection criteria.

The Application Form

Your application will provide us with an outline of your business, the market in which it will operate and how it aims to make money – and should answer this question: how will your business succeed when so many others sadly fail?

 

We have engaged the services of the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce to support prospective traders to breakdown the application process to trade at the New Chester Market.

 

They will be offering two free ‘bite sized’ workshops targeted at core elements of the application form. This will cover areas around business planning; looking at financials, accounts and legal requirements to demystify the process and assist you in completing your application.

 

To find out more and take advantage of this opportunity, please contact info@wcnwchamber.org.uk

Help & Top Tips

Be concise – It’s really important that we can understand what your business is all about from a quick glance at your application. Make sure you include a summary of your business, and how it will make money right from the start and use simple language throughout.

 

Be specific – Being specific is just as important as being concise. The details will help you drill down into how you will actually deliver your business plan.

 

Know your market – A big part of knowing whether your business will be successful is understanding your audience. Make sure your application is clear about your target market – who will you be selling to and how many other companies are already selling similar products?

 

Know your finances – The other essential part of your application is the finance section. If your business isn’t going to make any money, it won’t be successful so you need to be very clear on how you will make a profit.

 

To discuss this opportunity further, including Commercial Terms or your Fit-Out requirements please contact our agents Barker Proudlove: jessica@barkerproudlove.co.uk

FAQs

How will it be different to the current market?
The new market will have a strong food and drink offer. The exact tenant mix which will be most beneficial to the market’s future success will be finalised following consultation with consumers and the conclusion of the application process. We have massive ambitions for the new market; to build on its recent success and deliver a significant step-change in environment, choice and experience. It will establish a new benchmark for city centre markets, blending traditional character, choice and value alongside innovative new approaches.

 

Where will my unit be?
Specific details of the new market layout will be confirmed over the next few months in consultation with the traders who will be moving.

 

Will the opening hours change?
Yes – the expectation is to increase the opening hours of the market to include at least some evening trading. All traders will be required to adhere to the operational hours.

 

Will new traders be brought in?
Yes, the Council will promote the opportunity to both existing and new traders in order to achieve the optimum tenant mix.

 

Will any new businesses be allowed to sell the same as existing traders?
The objective is to provide customer choice and a diverse product range. The tenant mix strategy will aim to complement existing traders.

 

Why do I have to share my confidential business information as part of the selection process?
We need to be confident that each business within the market has a good chance of being successful. Lots of successful and viable businesses together will make the overall market stronger, as each successful business will bring their own customer base and add to the overall product mix. This is increasingly normal across markets and in other settings such as high streets and shopping centres and all information provided will be treated in strict confidence.

 

Why are existing traders being asked to apply for places in the new market?
Chester Market is beginning an exciting new chapter in its history with a move to a new purpose-built market hall at the heart of the Northgate development. As a result, we want to attract the best mix of traders and provide a fair and consistent process that will apply to both existing and new traders.

 

Some traders have previously successfully applied in the past to move to the new market, why do they have to apply again?
The previous selection process was undertaken in 2016 as part of the recruitment process for the original Chester Northgate scheme. Lots has changed since 2016 with the new market now being the heart of the reimagined Phase 1 scheme. Markets have continued to evolve, and this is reflected in the recent success of the existing market in Chester. We believe that the most equitable way to deliver the new market that Chester deserves is to hold a trader recruitment process that gives all existing (many of whom weren’t here in 2016) and prospective traders the same opportunity.

 

Will there be a space for all the current market traders?
Every trader will be given equal opportunity to apply for space in the new market. Interested traders should ensure they complete all the forms in the Application Pack.

 

Rental terms are different than in the existing market and rents are higher – why?
The rental terms at the existing market have changed little since they were set by the former City Council many years ago and are amongst the cheapest rents in the UK. The new terms reflect the step-change in environment and facilities the new market will provide, and this is in line with successful markets across the UK.

Food and beverage traders will pay a percentage of the turnover as a rent which increasingly is a model that works in markets and high streets across the UK. This means that traders do not have the barrier of high fixed costs and both the trader and the Council benefits if the overall market is a success.

 

Are new traders being given priority over existing traders?
No, all traders and prospective traders will be given equal opportunity to gain a place in the new market. Submissions will be assessed against a set of scoring criteria in order that the process is as transparent as possible. Some existing traders may need to re-evaluate their current business model as part of this process but that should be seen as an opportunity to review their business and set their aspirations and objectives in line with our ambitious plans for the new market outlined in our vision and manifesto.

 

What will happen to any existing traders that do not secure space in the new market?
For those that are unsuccessful, we will offer feedback to explain the reasons for our decision and where they may have fallen short of the selection criteria. The Council has alternative markets or retail premises that could be offered to help relocate existing traders to or offered to new applicants. Traders are encouraged to discuss this with the market manager.

 

Will you assist traders in applying for space in the new market?
Yes, we will work with every trader, both current and those applying, to help them complete their application if they request support, as we appreciate the application form could be daunting to develop and compile.

 

What will be the loading/unloading and car parking arrangements for the stall holders?
Access will be via Hunter Street to a loading bay, and new multi-storey care park that will serve the Northgate development. There will be access straight from the loading bay into the car park and, subject to interest, we will offer traders a contract with a dedicated parking space.

 

What will be the opening hours?
The current proposed opening will be 6 days a week, and closed on Mondays. Opening times are expected to be 8am – 6pm for general merchandise, and for Food and Beverage trading hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am to 10pm Sunday 11am to 9pm.

 

How Do I Apply?

Red Leaf Flowers

Complete the contact form below and we will send you our Application Pack, Floorplan and Design Guide.

We need you to follow the instructions to complete and submit your Application Form to us by 5pm on Wednesday 14 April 2021 via email to: jessica@barkerproudlove.co.uk

We will evaluate all submissions received and  hope to make our final selection by mid May 2021.

If selected, we will then commence an intensive lead-in and fit-out process with you to ensure you are ready to open once the market build is completed and we open in summer 2022.

Good luck and thanks for your interest.

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