CAM Hub – Some essential infomation

For November and December, Chorlton will be getting an new pop-up shop – The CAM Hub. Local artists and designers will have the opportunity to sell their work…and just in time for Christmas! This blog post is just to give potential traders some of the lowdown about how the shop will work, and how you can get involved.

* The shop is in Chorlton precinct and will be opening on Saturday 1st November. We will be open 6 days a week from 9.30 – 5.30.

* Our shop will have space for 30 different arists and designers with a range of sizes and prices from £10 per week. You will be required to sign up for 2 week periods at a time. You will not be charged comission on any items sold.

* Half the shop will feature gridwall stands for artists to display framed work. The other half of the shop will be dedicated to handcrafted items. We will also have a featured ‘Baby & Child’ section for work which fits this theme.

* Traders selling in the shop do not have to be present – the shop will be fully staffed. There will be the opportunity for some traders to work in the shop for a small wage, although this is not compulsory.

* We would like to invite anyone who is interested in getting involved to come and check out the shop, any time during the day on Friday 24th October. By this time, the shop fittings etc will be in so you will be able to see the layout. The spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis from this date. All payments for the first 2 weeks would need to be paid by the end of Sunday 26th.

If you have any further questions, please email us at: chorltonartmarket@gmail.com. And don’t forget – come and see us on the 24th to bag your spot in this exciting new project.

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The wait is nearly over!

After a long wait and more emails than I care to count, the real beginnings of our plans are finally within sight.

My goal has always been to work out opportunities which will benefit both myself and all the other people who share my aspirations. Doing the market is one avenue which gives us the opportunity to sell our handmade work, but having more permanent footing in the high street has always been my ultimate goal. Our 3 week trial run last year proved that an indoor art market is something which has the potential to work well in Chorlton, and I am so happy to say that our shop will rise again!

The location of the shop will, of course, be in Chorlton precinct – an area of the town which is, quite often, looked upon in a negative manner and one of my main goals has been to change this. For many years, I have felt that the development is not reaching its true potential, and with a little vision, it could become a much greater asset to the town. Currently the retail unit we will occupy has been empty for a number of months. A large vacant space in the centre of a town like Chorlton has a negative impact on the surrounding businesses, as well as having a demoralising effect on the community in general.

By the very nature of the type of shop we will be opening, it won’t be a big corporation who will be benefiting from it – it will be local people. Because of this, a much larger percentage of the profits will be going directly back into the local economy. One of the aims for the shop is to play a part in helping to encourage people to shop locally, not only at the market hub shop itself, but also the surrounding independent businesses. We will also be promoting other businesses which complement our theme e.g picture framers, art/craft supply shops. I believe that the only way for businesses to survive is to support one another and to promote the district as a whole and to work together to build networks to strengthen community cohesion and provide an opportunity for other local community ventures and small businesses to develop.

So, the next week will see us busier than ever as we get everything ready. Keep your eye out for our progress – more information coming soon.

Hard work & Frustration

For over 18 months now, I have been trying to, in a small way, work towards improving our local town centre and providing an opportunity for dozens of local artists. It is a struggle, and it continues to be so, despite exciting promises and glimmers of hope. My goal is not one which I hope will benefit me personally, but also the community and many other individuals. I have, in a way, put my life on hold as I try to make my dreams a reality and it is so much harder than I ever thought it would be.

The government website (https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-high-streets-and-town-centres) states that it supports local markets and helps ‘new market traders starting up businesses’, going on to say that it helps ‘start-up businesses to set up in the high street’. Sadly, I was recently turned down for funding from The High Street Innovation fund, partly, I suspect, because my project is based in Chorlton – a percieved ‘affluent’ area. This is frustrating because, despite its reputation, there are plenty of people like me who live and dream here. We truly want to make something happen, but at times it always seems just out of reach. I have lost count of the amount of times I have been expecting to get recieve funding to make my goals happen, only to be left disappointed.

I will continue to try to make my plan happen until the end of the year. After then, I will admit defeat, knowing that I have tried my very hardest, and hopefully be able to put my experience to use in a paid role. I ask myself quite often; why have I been trying to make this happen for so long? I have worked so hard, for so long and for so little and I really can’t carry on much longer, financially and mentally. A change is gonna come…and I hold on to a tiny glimmer of hope that my plans WILL happen and will be the spark for many great things for our town. I am hoping and keeping everything crossed that this will be the week that we will finally get some good news after putting in 18 months of work towards it.