Doors open at Ripon’s new market hall

Anthony Blackburn with some of the many stall holders.(12100210AM)
Anthony Blackburn with some of the many stall holders.(12100210AM)

After weeks of anticipation, the doors of Ripon’s new market hall have finally opened.

Handpicked Hall – boasting a variety of stalls featuring more than 30 local business selling everything from vintage accessories to homemade delicacies – opened yesterday, replacing Fishergate’s old department store Philip Hall.

All 35 stalls in the bespoke indoor market hall have been filled and a queue of other businesses requesting space is quickly lining up.

The aim of the new market hall is to act as an incubator for new businesses and encourage up and coming independent retailers to come to Ripon.

Handpick Hall’s stalls range across four sections: food and drink, arts and crafts, fashion and accessories and vintage.

Stall holders include Sawley Kitchen, Philippa Hall lingerie and Betterdaze vintage records, as well as independent artists such as the Paper Cutter Girl.

The hall’s doors will also be thrown open to charities and fundraising groups, with one stall in the market hall available to charity groups each week.

Handpicked Hall’s owner, Anthony Blackburn, transformed the old Philip Hall department store after 62 years of trade in the city.

Mr Blackburn said: “I am thrilled to be giving so many local businesses a chance to trade at an affordable rate in a city centre location. The response has been amazing; there are so many great people out there wanting to give selling on the high street a go.”

In addition to providing goods to purchase, the hall will offer a workshop programme, ‘Make-It’, where stall holders and artists-in-residence will share their creative expertise with the public. The two workshops will take place next month with children’s arts and crafts, creative workshops and craft parties for children’s birthdays, hen parties, baby showers and Christmas events.

Ripon residents were delighted by the hall’s opening yesterday, taking to Twitter to sing the hall’s praises.

Andrew Roberts tweeted: “Really impressive window display and fabulous looking new sign!”

Mr Blackburn was inspired to set up the stall after retail guru Mary Portas identified markets as future economic hot spots because they can bring local produce to their customers at an affordable price.

Mr Blackburn said: “Indoor markets offer warmer, cleaner, safer conditions for stall holders and the public.”