There is no better place to test out your business aspirations than on Norwich Market, according to a successful local entrepreneur.
Former street trader, market trader, and now shopkeeper, Anne Falgate, of Easton in South Norfolk, has spoken about her experiences of growing her business by trading on Norwich Market as part of the national Love Your Local Market campaign, which seeks to raise the profile of markets and market culture.
Mrs Falgate first established her business Cupcake and Co in early 2014 with a street trading stall opposite Norwich Railway Station. She then moved on to trade from her retro Peugeot van with the Feast on the Street collective before making the move to a stall on Row B of Norwich Market in October 2014.
She said: “I did already know how great the market was because I had my first ever job there when I was 17.
“I worked part-time for the Gordon family selling curtains and bedding and really loved it.
“I got in touch with the council and the market manager at the time, Ian Patterson, was very supportive.
“He was just so useful, full of information and ideas and a really brilliant sounding board, it really helped me make the jump to opening my own stall.”
And the buzzing, friendly atmosphere of Norwich Market quickly made Mrs Falgate feel right at home.
The former high school pastoral support worker said: “Mike and Debs on the front are just such lovely people, everyone was generally so friendly and helpful and from day one they all welcomed me.
“I made some really good friends and I’ve taken those friendships into great working relationships now that by business has moved on.”
Cupcake and Co opened in a shop on Upper St Giles Street on 1 February this year. It has continued with its delicious range of cupcakes in flavours ranging from lavender and grapefruit, vanilla, and oreo cookie but it now also sells local coffee from the Little Red Roaster, after establishing a working relationship with the Norwich business while on the market.
The shop, which is open from Tuesday to Saturday, also sells T2 Australian teas, cold drinks, artisan ice cream from Jack’s Gelato and locally-made gifts and cards and offers a bespoke cake making service.
Mrs Falgate said: “Moving to a shop has been great for me but I have to say I do miss the people on the market.
“There was always somebody to talk to. If you were having a good day you could share it and if it was a bad day then they were probably having a bad day too.
“Everyone lifted each other.
“I also found I was really inspired by so many of the other stalls and their produce.”
Offering a final piece of advice for entrepreneurs, Mrs Falgate said: “I would just say to anybody that Norwich Market is a great place to start up a business and test your product or idea.
“It’s economically viable because where else could you run a business for £261 a month in such a central city centre location and with such minimal outlay and low outgoings?
“It’s flexible, you’re not tied into a long lease, and the worst that can happen if it doesn’t work out is that you lose three months rent.
“I feel very positive about the market for what it did for me, it was just such a great start. Overall it gave me the confidence to think I could take on a shop and grow my business.”
To find out more about Cupcake and Co contact 01603 560120 or follow @Cupcake_and_Co on Twitter or like on Facebook.
If you'd like to know more about running a business on Norwich Market email firstname.lastname@example.org.