Halifax's Piece Hall will have no fewer than five new tenants in the lead-up to Christmas.
With the opening of a new restaurant, the erection of the Avalanche teepee tent and a Santa's sack-load of Christmas events wheeling their way to Calderdale in the coming weeks, it's certainly an exciting time for the iconic cloth hall.
But who are these new tenants, and what will they bring to Halifax in the Yuletide wind-down?
A Piece of Christmas
Not exactly new, having opened in September, A Piece of Christmas is a year-round store specialising in festive themed ornaments and gifts.
Run by Frances Bournes, who has been associated with The Piece Hall for many years, the idea for the shop came when she was chatting with her family. Having been a partner in the long standing model shop, Replicar, which has been at The Piece Hall since 1986, she knew that was where she wanted to be.
“It is absolutely wonderful," she said, "I am 100 per cent behind everything that has been done to improve The Piece Hall. I think it is a fabulous space, especially for families and it is a special place to come and work every day.”
A Piece of Christmas has been making sales since it opened its doors the first week of September and Frances believes there is a market all year round especially for particular items such as lighting. A stockist for prestigious giftware company Gisela Graham, she is also in talks with the company to produce an exclusive Piece Hall themed collectable.
Leaf will occupy a 490 sq ft on the Rustic level of The Piece Hall and is due to open on December 1.
A vegan and eco-conscious store, it will be selling toiletries, gifts and some take-away food lines with a view to expanding into catering in the future.
Owner Adrienne Sandy has co-owned a vegetarian store in Mid Wales for the past five years, co-running it for 15 years before that and having adopted a vegan lifestyle four years ago, said had been looking for an opportunity to take the business in that direction.
She has been visiting Calderdale since she was a child, she has always loved The Piece Hall.
“I love the history of the building and since the sympathetic restoration I think it is even better. I enjoy the feeling of community amongst the people that work here and I’m really looking forward to being part of that.”
South Wall Photography
A 294 sq ft photography studio on the Colonnade level of the Piece Hall isn't what you might have come to expect from the iconic site's offerings.
South Wall Photography will offer themed shoots with a number of props and backgrounds as well as digital enhancements. Suited to any occasion from wedding studio shots, cake smashes, maternity shoots or family portraits.
Owner Sara Brough has been a mobile photographer for a number of years and as her client base has grown, she said it was time to take the leap and open her own studio.
“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to be part of The Piece Hall,” she said.
Hudson Belle, is a gift shop which will offer curated gift boxes and is the only stockist of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks in the North of England. It is owned by Lou Harkness-Hudson, a former NHS nurse who said her career had given her an understanding of how important the support of others can be during testing, and happier, times.
“I have created a business that will enable people to give gifts with love and meaning to support loved ones or friends through times that may test them.”
Another Colonnade level store, it is due to open on December 12 and Lou said she chose The Piece Hall because it had been nurtured back to life by people who clearly care about its heritage and the locality. “I feel it has a sense of community and it has all the qualities that I want my new business to emulate,” she said.
The Wine Barrel
The Wine Barrel chose The Piece Hall for its location as it felt the unique venue was a perfect fit for the brand which takes its inspiration from Europe’s wine scene and culture.
The concept is to offer something not seen every day and this is embodied in its range of products which include craft label wines, different rums and eight beers on draught. However the wine specialists will also be offering something a little different in pairing it with different chocolates.
Owners Andrew and Jamie Carr said many people are put off from being adventurous with wine but they want everyone to feel like a connoisseur.
Running a number of family businesses ranging from one of Bradford’s largest health clubs to wholesalers and local salons, they said they value the community vibe across West Yorkshire and are looking forward to sharing their love of wine.
What the Piece Hall bosses think..
CEO of The Piece Hall, Nicky Chance-Thompson said: “We are always excited when new businesses comes to The Piece Hall and we are really looking forward to welcoming the new tenants into our thriving community.
“The Piece Hall is fast becoming a ‘must visit’ destination and has recently been referred to as an independent shopping and leisure Mecca. Each one of our independent shops, restaurants, cafes and bars have helped to build and cement this reputation.
“One of our primary objectives is to offer shoppers and visitors something different that additionally compliments the rich heritage of the building. The Piece Hall has always innovated and we feel that this is reflected in our tenant mix which will change and evolve over time. We see the evidence of our collective success every day with visitor numbers at The Piece Hall far exceeding expectations - it really has put the town and region on the map.”