I recall my amazement at the remains of covered market stalls close to the Forum in Ancient Rome – and again in the Greek city of Corinth.
This morning I happened to walk through Altrincham and past the market hall, which stands on the site of a market that was granted a Royal Charter in 1290.

The Royal Charter, allowing the Lord of Altrincham, Hamo de Masci, to hold a market and fair was sealed by Edward I in 1290 and was followed by Hamo’s own (undated) charter which created Altrincham a market borough. Hamo’s object was to improve his finances through more opportunities for local taxes. Money had become difficult due to wars and dowries.

Clearly, the latest construction is Victorian – but men and women have been selling their wares here for a very long time.
This morning as I walked by the flower sellers were unpacking their produce, no doubt imported overnight into the nearby airport.
Over the last three days I have presented my marketing workshop in Manchester, Belfast and Watford – and each day I have been asked by dental principals whether or not “all this marketing” doesn’t seem a little “pushy” or “desperate”?
I’m sure that back in 1290, the local dentist didn’t stand on a market stall – and simply waited for those with toothache to beat a path to his door.
But times have changed – I saw three dental practices within 100 metres of the market hall this morning:

  • a small shabby sign at the foot of a steep flight of stairs, the sign read “Dental Surgery” – nothing else;
  • a terraced house, with a sign on the door that read “Greenwood Dental Practice” – nothing else;
  • a brightly lit shop window, revealing a modern, clean interior and posters of people with beautiful smiles – Regent Street Dental Centre

You have to set your stall out – that’s how it’s always been.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.