We hobnob with Jane Munro from the Treacle Market as she reveals why it attracts visitors from far away…
So Jane, what does your business do?
This business is a bustling Arts, Antiques, Crafts, Food and Drink Market, held on the cobbles of the historic Marketplace in Macclesfield once a month. With around 160 stalls it stretches into neighbouring streets.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Macclesfield held its first Barnaby Arts Festival in June 2010. It was inspiring to see the streets of the town really come to life. We held a small food market as part of this Festival and it was clear to see that a good market could repopulate and animate the lovely Marketplace on a more regular basis.
When was your business first established?
July 2010. Debbie Quinn and I hit the ground running and started with about 20 stalls and a lots of nervous enthusiasm!
How is your business doing?
The market goes from strength to strength. We have tremendous loyal support from regulars who wouldn’t miss it whatever the weather (and we’ve had some dire weather this year!) plus visitors from much further afield who enthuse that it’s the best market around and has a very special atmosphere.
Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?
There are practical challenges as we are dealing with an open air venue: we have a handy brush and bucket and Fisherman’s waterproofs for early on a Sunday morning. We have to accept the weather is out of our control.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
When we tentatively took our first steps in 2010 there were only Farmers Markets, Traditional Markets or Craft Markets around. We felt strongly that we wanted to create something rather different, a market we really wanted to go to ourselves and that was a lively mix of all those and more. We are highly selective, we ensure all of our stalls are of excellent quality and provide an interesting, eclectic mix appealing to all ages and budgets. That said it is not only about commerce, we work hard to ensure that it is so much more than just a market, the social and entertainment part of Treacle is just as important. Visitors travel from afar to join local regulars, sit at tables listening to live music, munch on street food picnics on our laid out rugs, and take part in the Conker Championship or ‘Treacle Hound’ Dog Show. The Churchyard next to the Market is the hub of ‘Community Treacle’ with stalls raising funds for local charities and a Treacle BIZ BOOTH promoting a local business. Whilst there are many ‘artisan type’ markets around these day, these elements give us a unique atmosphere and a broad appeal. We are very lucky in that we have a lovely backdrop in the old town centre and the Market feels as though it is an intrinsic part of the Town.
What’s been your best business decision?
Not being too greedy. Ensuring that small makers can afford to trade with us and maintaining high standards of stalls. We are told this makes us worth a long drive!
What is next for your business?
We aim to continue presenting a lively, high-quality event each month. Doing what we currently do, really well is our aim.
If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t lose sight of the quality of what you do. Being biggest is not always best.
Thanks for hobnobbing with us Jane. Finally, what is your favourite biscuit?
Mmmm biscuits… nothing tastes quite like I remember a Penguin circa 1974, current ones don’t taste as good as I remember!