An exciting rebrand is on the horizon for a Northampton-based food, drink and entertainment pop-up, with hints dropped by one of the organisers in this week’s Help Our Hospitality coverage.
The Big Local is the brainchild of partners Jimmy Emmett and Clare Parmenter. After founding the event at the end of last year, the first pop-up took place in February.
The popularity of The Big Local has continued to grow each month, with fresh food vendors, open fires and local music at every event.
Attendance is now free to all pop-ups and they are hosted at the Duston Mill Wedding and Events Venue in Upton.
Founders Jimmy and Clare also run a mobile bar business, Black Ducks Bar, which is always in attendance at the pop-ups to keep the drinks flowing.
It was through their bar, while the pair were serving at a birthday party at Duston Mill last year, that they heard the venue was looking for another revenue stream and The Big Local was born.
Jimmy is the next member of the hospitality industry to provide his insight for this campaign, sharing that his journey began 15 years ago.
It was at that time that he and a friend launched an events catering company, attending music festivals like Glastonbury and prestigious sporting events.
Just before the pandemic set in, Jimmy sold his stake in the business to a friend and he and Clare launched Black Ducks Bar.
With a decade-and-a-half of experience, Jimmy was asked whether things have changed in hospitality over that time – and if so, what has evolved.
He said: “100 percent. It comes down to the rise of the internet, social media and people seeing what food could be like.
“Expectations rose and street food operators had to improve their offering to keep up.”
Jimmy shared that his events catering company had developed a great product and people were “shocked” by how good it was – given what they were used to being served at festivals at the time.
Having launched a successful pop-up event himself, alongside his partner Clare, Jimmy says the rise of street food comes down to everyone having different tastes and wanting different things.
“Now, everyone can get their favourite and all still sit together,” said Jimmy. “People can have what they want rather than making do.”
Jimmy believes it is a “combination of everything” that results in the success of a hospitality business – but says everyone has social media to contend with.
He added: “You can do something wrong and that is the thing people will remember.
“Online reviewing systems are great if you are on your game 100 percent of the time. You do your utmost best to keep everything perfect.”
When asked why he believes The Big Local has gained popularity with each new month, the organiser says they have adopted a “family-centric approach” that people like.
“People want somewhere kid and dog-friendly, with a great selection of food and music for all tastes,” said Jimmy. “We’ve hit a niche that encompasses a lot of different requirements.”
By providing local food, drink and music, The Big Local has responded to feedback that there was not enough going on in Northampton – and that more support for independents was needed.
One business that is a hit at the monthly pop-up is Nonna Lucia’s Pizza, which Jimmy described as “phenomenal”.
People travel as far as 40 miles to visit Nonna Lucia’s at The Big Local and Jimmy says they are “consistently fantastic with a lovely team”.
The next Big Local event, and the last of 2023, is on October 27 and 28.
Jimmy confirmed the team is taking a couple of months off to rebrand, with new events coming under The Big Local brand.
This will include pop-up restaurants and street food events, as well as more to be revealed as the year goes on.