A familiar face to shoppers and market traders across Stockton has won a national award.
Richard Beddard, who has been manager of the traditional weekly markets in Stockton, Billingham and Thornaby for six years, was named the Markets Manager of the Year at the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) awards ceremony.
In the six years he has been at the helm, Stockton Market has won several national honours including ‘Best Large Outdoor Market’ at this year’s Great British Market Awards and the ‘Love Your Local Market’ award in 2014.
Since securing a NABMA Markets Diploma, Richard has been instrumental in Stockton Council introducing a Market Traders ‘Perfect Pitch for Retail’ course to encourage a new generation of market traders.
Richard said: “I am proud and delighted to win this award which is a reflection on the markets in the Borough and more importantly, the team I work with. It comes at a time when traditional markets across the country are facing tough trading conditions as a result of competition from online, out of town shopping and discount retailers.
“That’s why my focus is on attracting new traders to our markets through innovative methods and pro-active thinking. I am always looking for new ways to keep the market lively, offer something a bit different and keep customers happy.”
Councillor Nigel Cooke, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said: “Our markets have been attracting visitors for over 700 years, and alongside our programme of specialist markets, they are part of the fabric of the Borough.
“Richard’s dedication and commitment to the market is clear. He works hard to maintain high standards, attract shoppers and is often on call 24/7 to support traders and businesses.
“He has come up with a range of ways to encourage local community groups and charities to work alongside the market and has helped to create fantastic start up incentives for new traders and budding entrepreneurs so they can test their trade while offering something different to shoppers.”
Graham Wilson, CEO of NABMA, said: “Richard has shown himself keen to develop professional standards in both management and trading through his attainment of the NABMA Markets Diploma and the introduction of an accredited market trader qualification.
“He has introduced a number of fresh marketing initiatives to ensure that the market offer is kept vibrant. A worthy winner of the Blachere Markets Manager of the Year.”