Interview with Helen Evans, Director of Business Development & Support at New Covent Garden Market
What is your role at New Covent Garden Market (NCGM)?
I am Director of Business Development & Support…in essence helping all the companies based here build and improve their businesses.
This means that it is important for us to have strong links with both growers and customers, so we can ensure the market is not just about the physical distribution of product, but also that it continues to play an important part in sharing information up and down the supply chain.
How long have you been in this role?
I have been at NCGM for sixteen years, but the focus of my work has shifted from straightforward marketing and communications to a more proactive development role.
Working with the small and medium sized businesses here is amazing. Every day I see the most fantastic flowers, plants and foliage, as well as fruit and veg…what’s not to love?
Could you tell us more about the Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA)?
CGMA is a public body set up to run NCGM. It is basically a landlord and provides all of the usual services such as cleaning, security, maintenance, etc. But it also looks to support the 200 companies based here.
Although we report to the government, we’re run like a commercial organisation and receive no public money.
Where is New Covent Garden Market located & since when has it existed there?
NCGM is based at Nine Elms (Vauxhall) and moved here from the old market site in 1974.
What hours is the Flower Market open?
The Flower Market is open Monday to Saturday from about 2am to 9am but, depending on the day of the week, might open or close earlier.
Could you tell us about the range of different traders at the flower market?
There are some 30 wholesalers at the Flower Market: 18 cut flower, 6 plant, 2 foliage and 5 sundries.
In addition, there are a number of floral designers and landscapers based on site and two flower schools.
It really is a one stop shop for everything a florist needs…all under one roof.
If I’m a new florist, how’s it best for me to go about buying from the market?
For professional florists, we run a ‘buddy scheme’ which is a personal introduction to the market and how it works. Just call us 020 7501 3495.
Also register on-line to receive regular news updates including events.
You can download the essential guide to the Flower Market, which has information about the companies based here.
However, it is a business to business environment and the quantities sold are larger than at retail level. No prices are displayed and VAT is added to the prices quoted.
There is also a £5.00 entry charge per vehicle.
Could you tell us about the future plans for New Covent Garden Market?
The Flower Market is over 40 years old and when it was built it was a great technological leap forward with temperature control and colour corrected lighting.
But it is no longer really fit for purpose. There is no water or drainage in the hall and it is an expensive building to run.
So, as the whole market site is redeveloped, the Flower Market will be rebuilt on the main market site and will play a leading role as part of The Garden at New Covent Garden Market…the name for the new market.
We have just signed the development agreement with our private development partners (VINCI St. Modwen) to build the new market and expect that work will start towards the end of 2014.
Our vision is for the new market to be the focus for food and flowers in London.
As the plans for the new Flower Market come together we will keep the market community informed and look for their input…traders, customers and suppliers alike.
Thank you very much to Helen for all her help in compiling today’s blog post.
(Images : New Covent Garden Market)