MR BIG means business
BUSINESSES and shoppers in Market Rasen are celebrating after the town was named as one of 12 across the country to win a share of a £1.2 million funding pot through the Portas Pilots Project in an attempt to rejuvenate high street shopping.
The smallest town in the bid with just 5,000 people, Market Rasen beat off stiff competition from 370 others nationwide to win its share of the coveted Government cash.
The bid to become a Portas Pilot town was put together by a group of local traders and business people in Market Rasen called MR BIG (Market Rasen Business Improvement Group) at a time when the mood in the high street was at an all-time low, with shops closing and traders concerned about their future.
MR BIG showed it meant business, even at that early stage, with its video entry, which was quickly highlighted by Mary Portas on her Twitter feed as "one to watch".
NEED A NEW BOILER ?. THEN READ OUR REVIEWS & CALL P & P PLUMBING...View details
IF YOUR LOOKING AT REPLACING YOUR BOILER, THEN CALL, P & P PLUMBING. WE CAN SUPPLY & FIT BOILERS, TO SUIT ALL BUDGETS, & THEY COME WITH 3, 5, 7 & AN AMAZING 10 YEARS PARTS & LABOUR GUARANTEE.
Terms: Ts & Cs apply
Contact: 01472 803004
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Excitement grew with the Mary Portas Pop-up Market earlier in the month, especially as it was known a secret shopper from the bid had been asking questions in the high street.
The innovative Monday market was another example of why Market Rasen deserved to become a Portas Pilot town, by putting Mary Portas' ideas into action. It was a huge success, with more than 30 market stalls, food, arts and crafts and even local live musicians all taking part.
At the market, one of the founding members of MR BIG, Sarah Lambelle, pictured, said the group would be disappointed if they didn't win, but putting together the bid had helped them form a blueprint to turn the town's fortunes around whatever happened.
After news the town had been successful in winning the bid, she said: "We've managed to turn around a general attitude of apathy into some strong and positive belief that our town can be reinvigorated. Securing the funding really is the icing on the cake.
"We were determined to turn around our town – with or without the Portas money – but now, with the result, we can fast-track our plans. We know that now our work begins in earnest to make sure Market Rasen realises its full potential."
Carol Hine, co-owner of Indulgence fragrance shop in Queen Street, said: "We are over the moon. There have been times when we have seriously had to think about whether to stay here – but becoming a Portas Pilot is such a great opportunity for the town."
Darren Lince, owner of the five-star Advocate Arms Hotel in Queen Street, is delighted at the prospect of his businesses – including the White Swan and the George pubs – being in a five-star high street.
A member of MR BIG, he said: "I'm delighted – this is great for the town. Hopefully, the town will benefit from the extra profile it will get from being a Portas Pilot."
Traders and organisations in the town are now busy preparing their shop windows for next weekend's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
The annual gardeners' market, organised by Market Rasen Lions Club, also takes place on Saturday and Sunday and there will be a community day of activities on the Monday.
Keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for more on the project.