LYLM2015 – an international campaign
“Love your local market 2015 (LYLM2015)” is an international campaign to promote the awareness of markets, market halls and the like. It started in 2012 in the UK and is now spreading across many countries in Europe and the US. Many parties are involved in these activities, the World Union of Wholesale Markets being one of them. There is a distinct branding across the countries, and the focus is on events at the markets themselves accompanied by (strong) social media communication.
The LYLM2015 event at the Apostelnkloster market in Cologne
The city of Cologne which is responsible for most of the markets in its area, including the huge wholesale market. Some of the city staff has the task to promote the markets through a variety of events, promotional materials and classic media engagement. They do that together with the market vendor representatives. This year they wanted to benefit from the international LYLM2015 campaign and set up two events during the international local market weeks from mid to end of May.
I rushed to see the event on May 22nd at the Apostelnkloster market in the city centre of Cologne, but I was a bit late. Still the visit was not in vain. The whole stage and the supporting staff was still there. I had the chance to have some chats on how things worked out and got nice “reports”. Earlier there were some “talk shows” with vendors who described what it means to be on a market and what the impact would be to have later hours of operations. With some chance they will be made available online. There was also a charity where the donations for branded market bags were dedicated to children. Traditional potato pancakes “Reibekuchen” were sold for charity as well, really really yummy. Furthermore a carousel and a bouncy castle were set up for the kids. Hours of operation of the market were extended from 15:00h to 18:00h to my delight.
Organizers were quite happy with the event, and several vendors experienced more customers than usual, some guessed 20% more. I understand that there is a great chance that the Love Your Local Market umbrella campaign will be run again next year with a different theme despite the additional costs. Then I certainly will take a day off, not to miss anything. And I want to know what the market visitors are thinking of such a campaign.
So what about the market itself?
Well the Apostelnkloster market is a good standard market at a convenient location in the middle of the city (see map below). Big trees give almost a Southern France type of feeling – at least when the sun is shining. And the adjacent Basilica of the Holy Apostles fosters the peaceful ambiance.
All what is needed on a market can be found: vegetables & fruits, meat, cheese, fish, flowers, eggs … but I did not see the honey stall. Unusual. A few street food stalls, e.g. a crêpes maker catered for the immediate appetite.
The fun part was a lady butcher who works on deer antler as a hobby and sells the results on the market – check the photo gallery above for a sample.
The coffee guy was a fun one as well, friendly and easy to talk to. He is relying purely on his regular customers. He knows fairly well when his clientèle will come for a coffee in which order. Fairly predictable business apparently.
The future of the markets in Cologne (and elsewhere)
I had some discussions during my visit about the status of the markets in Cologne and in Germany. With some exceptions times are a bit tough, clientèle is rather decreasing, and it is hard to find new vendors. The working conditions for the vendors, aka working hours are demanding and do not fit the requirements of a satisfying work-life-balance. Apparently the city of Cologne will try some new concepts which will include a shift of operations to later hours at some markets in order to cater for the working population. And (modern?) street food will probably play a more prominent role. I am very curious.
All in all: Good idea to promote local markets, it still remains an uphill battle. Refreshing Apostelnkloster market wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
A little link list: