Creating a flourishing artisan market in Rawtenstall led Jane Boys to win the Enterprising Woman title at last year’s Rossendale Business Awards. It had always been her plan to integrate the Clog Market within the town’s own traditional market on Newchurch Road and she got the opportunity when Rossendale Borough Council offered a tender. Jane, who retired after 30 years in clinical nursing management in the NHS, had a vision of how the traditional market could be reinvented to attract a new audience. Thanks to winning the award, she felt her plans would be taken more seriously and reached an agreement to become the market manager for a year. With her hands’ on approach to business, Jane set about transforming the indoor and outdoor spaces.
She said: “The market was oppressive because it was so dark. Even when it was open, the shutters on the stalls at the front made it looked closed. Inside the large canopied stalls created dark, narrow corridors and half were empty, so we removed them and opened it up. We kept it authentic and reused everything. It has not been refurbished at huge cost and when stalls need painting I have got the paint brush out. I am trying to show that the market can be viable and after four months we had hit the targets set. Now it is family and child friendly and people can bring their dogs in and it is fully inclusive. Stall holders report that younger customers are now also coming to the market and we have attracted lots of new stalls. The increased footfall benefits all the traders. People now come to the market for the experience.”
The first Clog Market Jane arranged was around four years ago on Rawtenstall Town Square, but it could very easily have been the last when the provider of stalls failed to turn up. Rather than give up, she sourced and bought her own second hand stalls and set up a social enterprise. Jane said: “The Clog Market is a small business and I thought we might as well use the profits to help others as a small amount can go a long way – whether to help a community group, an individual or a family.”
The Clog Market has been relocated and is held every third Saturday alongside the traditional market in Newchurch Road. Traders use occasional stalls that also double as tables in the indoor market and external gazebos. She added: “Along with other events we will be having the Christmas Lights’ Switch On in November and then Christmas markets every Saturday in December and on the last Sunday before the big day. “Our aim is to respond to customers’ requests and make the market what people it to be.”
Story by Catherine Smyth Media