Ripon’s independent department store is to close down and be converted into an indoor market hall.
Philip Hall, which was traded in the city since 1950, has closed its doors as a department store for the last time.
But the Fishergate site is to reopen within weeks as an indoor market hall for local independent producers, owner Anthony Blackburn has announced.
“High streets never stand still; they have to continually reinvent themselves. I worked on Ripon’s bid for funds from the Portas Review of high streets and I saw what was happening in other parts of the country.
“Fifty per cent of retail spend has left Britain’s high streets in the last five years and it is the middle ground, where Philip Hall sits, that has gone.
The Ripon Market Hall, as it will be called, will have space for 35 market stalls for local producers to sell their wares direct to consumers. Around 40 percent of the pitches are already occupied, Mr Blackburn said.
It will be open seven days a week, with pitches available for as little as £10 a day, he added.
The market hall plan offers a way forward for the department store which has struggled through the recession.
“I have looked at it and tried many things, but unfortunately with the economic climate and the unseasonable weather, I couldn’t see a way forward for the department store.”
“Mary Portas also identified that markets could well be the future because they can bring local produce to their customers at an affordable price. And indoor markets offer warmer, cleaner, safer conditions for stall holders and the public.” Anyone interested in trading at the market hall should contact Anthony Blackburn on 07957 896007.