The Piece Hall has announced the first nine companies that will be open for business when it reopens on 1 August.
It includes a retail and leisure mix of independent new start-ups, expanding local businesses and returning tenants, kickstarting an enterprising new chapter for the sole surviving Georgian former cloth hall.
A rising star from the region’s hospitality industry will head up one of the new food and drink businesses. Justin Thomas who cut his teeth at celebrated Leeds institutions ‘Friends of Ham’, where he was head of food development and Kendall’s Bistro (head chef) has also chosen The Piece Hall to locate his new venture.
Located on the lower ‘Arcade’ level and occupying 1,060 sq ft Thomas’s restaurant, which is yet to be named, will offer ‘modern comfort food’ from morning to night from a menu that reflects the best of British seasonal and artisan produce.
Launching at The Piece Hall will be three new leisure and retail start-ups. The Escaporium will be the first local interpretation of a globally popular concept. Founded by Angela Nicholls and Mark Wood the Halifax-themed live escape room will occupy a unit of 882 sq ft on ‘Colonnade’ level.
Jewella, a mid-price jewellery and accessories shop showcasing a curated selection of leading British brands, is expanding from digital clicks to physical bricks as owner Rose Eastwood has taken 294 sq ft on the ‘Rustic’ level.
Capitalising on the continued growth in vinyl record sales and the nation’s insatiable love of café culture, Loafers will occupy 392sq ft on the ‘Rustic’ level, selling records and refreshments and marking a new venture for Leeds entrepreneur Mark Richardson.
Three established regional businesses will open new retail outlets at The Piece Hall. Halifax’s oldest family-run independent department store, Harveys, has taken 686sq ft for its new homewares store, stocking exclusive brands including Alessi, Emma Bridgewater, Joules Homeware and Orla Kiely.
Premium estate agents Yorkshire’s Finest have taken 245 sq ft on the uppermost ‘Colonnade’ level. Alison Bartram’s husband Paul is set to open a second gallery at The Piece Hall following a period of sustained growth with Alison’s successful Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge. Occupying 392 sq ft, The Yorkshire Gallery will focus on work from Yorkshire artists, makers and designers.
Alison Bartram of Heart Gallery said: “My family is from Halifax and The Piece Hall has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, I even had a stall here in the early ’90s, so it really seemed like a natural fit for Paul to open our second gallery in the building.
“I set up Heart Gallery almost 11 years ago and at any one time we may be showcasing the work of more than 100 artists. At The Yorkshire Gallery Paul will focus on giving a platform solely to those wonderful artists born, living or working in this great County of ours.”
Former tenants of The Piece Hall were among the first businesses to be offered space in the restored building and two confirmed to return are Creative Crystals and Replicar. Creative Crystals owner Isobel Hampson has been selling crystals, gemstones and minerals for over 23 years, and has taken a unit of 294 sq ft on the ‘Rustic’ level, returning the business to its original setting.
Replicar, set up in 1985 by Frances Burns and John Minshull, also returns to The Piece Hall this summer in a 294 sq ft space on the upper ‘Colonnade’ level, with hundreds of collectable die-cast vehicles.
Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of The Piece Hall Trust, said: “I’m delighted to be announcing the first of our new tenants. It’s always been our plan to fill the spaces with a diverse and interesting mix of independent businesses and it’s a terrific show of confidence in The Piece Hall that our first tenants comprise of established retailers and new concepts. Together we will make The Piece Hall the best retail, leisure, cultural and heritage destination in the North of England.”