What is the deal with traditional markets in London?
Fact - Traditional markets are the oldest form of exchange – and are not just a key part of the British heritage. Successful markets deliver many diverse benefits to local towns and communities and while economic benefits are perhaps the most obvious, the social value of markets and the community cohesion they encourage are equally important. Markets can also help regenerate town centres, promote healthy eating and support 'greener' lifestyles and more sustainable patterns of commerce.
In 2009, The Telegraph reported that 'Despite the substantial success of farmers' markets, the majority of the country's estimated 3,000 markets are in decline, the report found, because of poor planning decisions by local councils which have allowed supermarkets too much power.' This may be true in the case of open markets because shoppers, in the age of the internet, are no longer prepared to put up with poor British weather when they can buy their groceries from super markets and their products online.
It is true that some markets in London have become a shadow of their former lively, bustling selves. For example:
1) Portobello market in West London, popular with tourists, has witnessed the number of stalls fall from 212 to 180 in the last five years.
2) Roman Road Market in Bow London, which in the sixties was a large bustling market with a great selection of stalls, attracting people from a reasonable area, and now consists of a very few and down-at-heel that no one would travel to visit.
The local merchants have an opportunity now to take their stores online so that they increase their chances of being more discoverable and visible to patrona - more importantly, fans from anywhere in the world can now see them, get to know them and enjoy their products - in some sense support small businesses that continue to produce unique and handmade products. myMzone is a online portal which allows this to happen by letting local merchants from traditional markets have an online store where they can showcase themselves and their products.
At the moment, london's Camden Market, Portobello Market and Spitalfields market have been covered by myMzone while there are interests coming from other geographies like New York, Glasgow and Uganda. The exciting fun fact of all of this, you could have an item from a market in Jerusalem in your cart along with an Alpaca wool item from South America in addition to a handcrafted ear ring from Central Africa.
How exciting is it? If you share the enthusiasm, be sure to offer your comments on the blogging platform - perhaps by the end of 2012, traditional markets in London won't have a problem anymore.