Opportunities for Urmston traders at the Beatles in Urmston event

The Beatles in Urmston event is probably the best publicised event in the area since the real Beatles played in Abbotsfield Park, thanks to tireless organiser Peter Killick.  The event, which is to take place on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August and re-enacts the Beatles’ legendary performance of 50 years ago, promises a raft of entertainment plus 1300 revellers – and a long queue for the miniature railway on Sunday.

Independent traders can book a pitch at the Beatles in Urmston event.

Independent traders can book a pitch at the Beatles in Urmston event.

Why is this of interest to independent traders in Urmston?  Because Peter has secured permission for 90 stalls selling arts, craft and other produce – and he wants to fill them with local traders (not exclusively local, of course – I’m sure you won’t be banned from booking a pitch if you come from Swinton, but he is keen to encourage local traders to get involved).

The stalls cost £25 for the day, which seems to me to be a great price, and people will be allowed in to the park on both afternoons in order to browse – and buy from – the stalls, so traders are not relying on ticket-holders only.  You can find out how to book a pitch in the Beatles in Urmston’s Community Zone.


Urmston Market Summer Fair

Barnes' fruit stall has been on Urmston Market for three generations.

Barnes’ fruit stall has been on Urmston Market for three generations.

Urmston Market held a spectacular summer fair yesterday, with fairground rides, a fire engine, craft stalls and all our favourite regulars.  Peppa Pig led a veritable team of celebrity animals, including Ted the Red and the market buzzed with shoppers and children all day long.

Urmston Market's summer fair festivities were a great success.

Urmston Market’s summer fair festivities were a great success.

People came from far afield to check out the summer fair and many local people rediscovered Urmston’s  lovely market, no doubt planning to return next week.

Do Well Picture Framing has been on Urmston Market for six years.

Do Well Picture Framing has been on Urmston Market for six years.

The recession has not been kind to small-town markets and the stallholder’s lot is not an easy one in rain and hail and hurricane-force winds (and that’s the month of May in Manchester) so it’s really important to support Urmston Market – not because it’s some sort of charity case but because there are bargains and one-off treasures to be found there.

Take, for example, Steve’s DVDs – the matter-of-fact-yet-poetic name of Steve’s stall contradicts the truly special nature of this sci-fi fan’s paradise.  From the Dalek version of Frustration currently being enjoyed by my little son to a rare light saber like the one in the films, Steve’s stock offers a whistle stop tour around the sci-fi map of the universe.  Steve owns his own Darth Vader outfit – perhaps one day he will wear it on the stall!

May the force be with Steve's DVDs (and more) on Urmston Market.

May the force be with Steve’s DVDs (and more) on Urmston Market.

The fair was supported by Stretford and Urmston MP Kate Green who tweeted a comment from one of the stallholders that Urmston needs a market because ‘it brings the community together’.  Tucked away from Urmston‘s central shopping zone, Eden Square, the market is a hub of independent traders, each of its jolly wooden stalls promising something different from the last.  Urmston market is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays all year long: use it!


Summer Fayre at Urmston Market: 22nd June 2013


Come along to Urmston Market's summer party on 22nd June.

Come along to Urmston Market’s summer party on 22nd June.

Urmston Market, one of our local treasures, is running a Summer Fayre on Saturday, 22nd June.  If bunting, old-fashioned sweets, fairground rides, balloon sculpture and craft stalls sound like your idea of fun on a beautiful summer’s day, etch it on your diary now.   If you’re a fan of celebrity animals, such as Pepa Pig and Cracker the Fire Dog, make sure you bring your autograph book because these A-list beasts are clamouring to attend.

Come to Urmston Market's Summer Fayre on 22nd June.

Come to Urmston Market’s Summer Fayre on 22nd June.

Organised by the stallholders themselves, led by the lovely Sandra who runs the Candy Stripes sweet stall in the covered part of the market, the Summer Fayre at Urmston Market will also showcase all our favourite regulars, such as the fruit stall, Budget Baby Boutique, Attiques Jewellery, the plant stall, the ironmonger and the fashion stalls (if I have missed any, please comment below and I shall amend!).  There will also be a face painter, a real fire engine and an artisan woodcarver.

Do we want a vibrant market in Urmston?  Yes, we do!  How can we support it?  Use it (or lose it).  Just buy one thing on the market this weekend.  In the words of the supermarket behemoths: every little helps.  This is just a suggestion; if you normally buy two things I’m not suggesting you should buy one less!  Promote Urmston Market’s Summer Fayre on 22nd June by telling your friends about it or posting this link on Facebook, Twitter and wherever else you like to post.

Finally, there are a couple of stalls left at the bargainous price of £12, so if you are an independent Urmston trader and you want to show off your goods at Urmston Market’s Summer Fayre on 22nd June, contact us and we will pass on the contact details.

Urmston Independents: the story so far …

Last week, www.urmstonindependents.org.uk was launched as a means of promoting the artisans and grafters, handy(wo)men and crafters that help keep the streets of  Urmston buzzing with troves of treasure to discover and enjoy.  Online or on the street, Urmston’s independent traders keep our local economy healthy and wealthy.  This website is just for them, and for the community.
Urmston independents

In the four days since its launch, urmstonindependents.org.uk has attracted 453 views and 166 visitors.  There have been lots of encouraging messages of support and offers of help.  Twitter has been a big help in bringing what Search Engine Optimists (is that really a thing or did I make it up?) like to call ‘traffic’ to the site.  The Stretford and Urmston Messenger has been in touch, so some nice press exposure for independent traders in Urmston seems likely.  Not bad for four days, but let’s take it further.  This is where you come in.

How YOU can help Urmston’s independent traders thrive and survive

Step One: shop mindfully

Urmston’s independent traders have had it tough over the past few years but you can help boost them by shopping mindfully and encouraging others to do the same.  You don’t have to spend more money,  just spend it differently.

Use Urmston's independent shops and services.

Use Urmston’s independent shops and services.

Step Two: spread the word

Use this on Facebook to spread the word about Urmston Independents.

Use this on Facebook to spread the word about Urmston Independents.


Share this website on Facebook, tweet it or blog about some of Urmston’s independent shops, services, eateries and bars.  Get the message out there: Urmston’s independent traders are awesome and they deserve our support.  If they’ve battled through the past few years and come out the other side still trading with a smile on their face, they are a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration.  If they’ve taken the huge step of starting their own business in the current economic gloom, they have courage and determination and they deserve the small reward of having you try them out at least just once.  You may use any of the photos or graphics on this website to promote www.urmstonindependents.org.uk.  If you leave a comment on this post, it will boost our visibility to search engines, so don’t be shy … we hardly ever bite.

Tweet this to spread the word about Urmston Independents.

Tweet this to spread the word about Urmston Independents.

Step Three: help us build our A-Z

Help us build up our A-Z of independent Urmston traders.  ANY Urmston-based, independent trader can have a listing on this site and we will never charge any money for this (or for anything else related to this site).  So let us know about Urmston’s independent traders.   We know the list is incomplete, but if we’d waited to compile a full list of every independent trader in Urmston before publishing this website, we’d never have done anything.  It’s far better to start promoting even a small proportion of Urmston’s independent traders with a view to building a more complete set of listings than to put off doing anything at all because it’s such an overwhelming task.  Over the coming weeks we will be writing longer pieces about individual businesses or traders or types of business.  We are starting by preparing a page about cake makers in Urmston, since there are so many and since everybody likes cake, so do please get in touch if you know of any cake makers not already listed on our A-Z.

Finally, if you have read this far, thank you.  Your support means a lot to independent traders in Urmston.  Have a great day.

Urmston Independents: Celebrate Diversity not Uniformity

The Rise of Stepford High Street …

Meh ... big-name retailers don't inspire.

Meh … big-name retailers don’t inspire.

Big chains have groomed high streets throughout the UK to look like clones: big-name coffee chains, Argos, Boots and Marks and Spencer are a ubiquitous presence.  People welcome them because they bring jobs into the community and they offer a reassuring uniformity (you know what you’re getting with Starbucks).

The truth of the matter is that small, independent traders in Urmston keep more of your money in the community.  They reinvest the money you give them by shopping locally, as well as recruiting staff from the local area and donating time and money to worthwhile projects in the local community.  The £10 you give an independent trader can be reinvested again and again, giving it a true worth closer to £50.  You’re unlikely to be seeing the MD of one of the big five supermarkets buying a pound of fruit on Urmston Market, nor the CEO of a big European franchise booking in to Salon Pierre for an eyelash tint.

That’s the only colour that comes in …

The proliferation of big chains and franchises has altered our expectations: we like them because we know what to expect, but how did we lose our desire to explore, to find something new, rather than being presented with what we are told we want?  Independent traders in Urmston offer a departure from the uniformity of corporate branding.  I’m thinking of the charming window displays in Urmston Bookshop, Fouette or the Glass Slipper, the beautifully handwritten menus in Lily’s Coffee Lounge or the Better Tuition bird.

We know you’re going to love this – whether you like it or not …

You might like that you know what to expect with a big retailer or service provider, but they can be inflexible.  Many years ago I got a haircut at a swanky, famous name hair salon in another metropolis.  Waiting for my stylist, I started to get alarmed that every single person seemed to be leaving with one of two haircuts (pixie crop or choppy bob).  A couple of hours later my suspicions proved correct; slinking home in a huff with my a choppy bob I hadn’t asked for,  I realised that this particular big-name salon offered only two hairstyles, whether you liked them or not!  I’ve never had a haircut I didn’t ask for at JW Hairdressing or PowerCuts or Walsh’s, and the point I’m making is that independent traders in Urmston are often better equipped to deal with our requests, offering a more individualised service.  Read more about the benefits of using local, independent traders where possible.

I’m not suggesting a boycott of big chains – but shopping mindfully and using independent Urmston traders when and where you can will often prove cheaper (see my previous post on how big corporations sometimes manipulate the facts to make their services appear cheaper) and will certainly keep more of YOUR money circulating in the community.