I am making these comments as one the traders affected by the loss of the Harrogate Christmas market as we have traded there in previous years selling our fudge. We are a small family business based in Knaresborough and saw this event as one of our major events of the business year. It was not only good for us during the event but on follow up online sales from the attendees from across the UK. So it is a big loss and is now a gap in our calendar that needs to be filled.
I do not know the “ins and outs” of when early discussions started with other market organisers or indeed the any of the organisational discussions that went on with organisers or future organisers but I do have a few comments!
- Counter Terrorism concerns were raised as a reason to refuse the licence. Again no incite on specific threats about any potential target but it is a fact the UK National Threat level was LOWERED to substantial in February 2021 so surely the measures already in place when the risk was SEVERE should have been sufficient?
- The new Christmas market dates clash with the Farmers Market held in Cambridge Street ( 9th December 2021). Whilst the location of the new Christmas Market is not disclosed as a regular trader at this market I certainly hope HBC are not considering stopping this local farmer market at a busy time of the year. Remember Shop local?????
- The new Christmas Market dates clash with The Great Yorkshire Christmas Fayre (3rd to 4th December) held at Yorkshire Show Ground. Again, many local traders are already committed to this event.
- Covid concerns are very real, and I understand public overcrowding is a concern. However, our understanding that the layout of this years now former Christmas market had changed, and the Artisan marques had been removed meaning all trading was in the open air. I do not see the event as been any more crowded than let’s say the Euro football tournament final!
- We wait to see what is offered to local traders, but Market Place Europe are clearly a very professional and slick market operators. They have a winning formula and have invested in Christmas Chalets etc. They operate International, continental, and street food markets that appear to be rebranded as Christmas markets during the festive season. I suspect many of the traders will be same in Christmas hats!!! These markets operate around the UK in a set formula but sadly that is not local or indeed unique and I fear that differential loved by so many of our previous customers / visitors will be lost. Afterall why will people travel to Harrogate for a Christmas market when you have a similar generic market closer to your home?
In conclusion there may be many other reasons for this change of operator, such as money to the council but I do feel that communication has been poor and as a small local business we are in danger of losing out to traders from out of town.
Dave Fortune, Por Favour Fudge