Plastic-free shop and cafe one of a string of new additions to Halifax's Piece Hall

Ross and Natalie Denby and their children are opening Just Gaia
Ross and Natalie Denby and their children are opening Just Gaia

A plastic-free shop and cafe is one of a string of new businesses making its home in The Piece Hall in Halifax.

Just Gaia is the venture of Holywell Green couple Ross and Natalie Denby who want to lead the way in helping people in Calderdale and the rest of the UK to do their bit to save the planet.

The pair, who have two children, will open their new enterprise later this month in the space where record and coffee shop Loafers used to be before it expanded into bigger premises on the ground floor.

“The response we’ve had so far has been amazing and has really inspired us,” said Ross.

“We could have opened months ago but we have put all our efforts to secure space in the Piece Hall as it’s such a prestigious location.”

The shop’s stock will include frozen, cupboard and fresh food without any plastic wrapping while the cafe will serve sustainable-sourced food and drinks.

Ross said the family have been inspired by their own journey to help the environment. “We want to make it easy and convenient to go plastic-free,” he added.

Natalie has left her teaching job to work for the new business and they have ambitious plans including a click and collect service for locations across the country.

Just Gaia will join a host of other businesses who have moved into The Piece Hall in the last few months.

Custard Create - an art shop and creative space - was opened in July on the colonnade level by owner Kim Orwin who had dreamt of owning a shop in The Piece Hall since she visited regularly as a child.

As well as selling her own art and photography in the shop, Kim also runs arts and crafts classes for children and will soon start lessons for adults,

“I’m loving it, it’s absolutely brilliant,” she said. “It’s a very inspiring place to work in. It’s a dream come true to work here.”

Also recently opened are The Handmade Gift Shop, children’s clothes and gifts store Shop 4 Little Horrors, and jewellers Leon K Dewhurst.

Nicky Chance-Thompson, The Piece Hall Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “It has always been the Trust’s vision that independent businesses can establish themselves in The Piece Hall and thrive. I’m so pleased that they have chosen to be a part of our wonderful Piece Hall.”