‘Quintessential retail’ plan for Leeds Road

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Plans for a new retail destination complete with a Victorian Street and almost 50 antique sellers have been unveiled for Leeds Road.

Business partners Graham Watson and Jason Clay purchased Harrogate Antique and Auction Rooms Ltd and Brookside Nurseries Ltd on Leeds Road, with the intention of creating a “retail destination” for antiques, gardening products and home interiors.

The two businesses will be developed into one under the name Crimple Hall and the duo hope the shop will become ‘the finest quintessential retail experience’ in the North of England.

Mr Watson said: “Our research showed that interest in the two businesses had been waning steadily, but since the acquisitions we’ve already given both the garden centre and antiques centre a new lease of life and that has been demonstrated by the increase in customers.

“This has been achieved by a variety of measures, including increasing stall occupancy in the antique centre by a third. Currently we now have 48 stalls holders selling everything from antique jewellery to ornaments, fine art and furniture, plus an outdoor reclamation area selling used items such as benches, tubs and wrought iron gates.”

Live auctions are set to start at the centre on July 1.

Mr Watson added: “We have plenty more plans in the pipeline. Our overall aim is to create the North’s finest, quintessential retail experience which will feature a huge range of antiques outlets, retailers of gardening products, gifts, home interiors and really great food and drink offerings.”

The first phase of the development is due to be completed by May 2014 and will include a new cafe/bistro, a farm shop and gift outlets within the garden centre.

The second phase of the Crimple Hall development, which is expected to be completed by November 2015, will include replacing the existing antiques centre with a new rural-style building which will hold 85 antiques stalls, as well as Italian furniture specialists Harrogate Interiors.

Mr Clay added: “People already travel from considerable distances to visit the antiques centre but we are confident we will attract even more people to not just the centre, but Harrogate itself, by making it the largest antique centre in the North.

“We also plan to join the garden centre and antiques centre with a ‘Victorian Street’ where we would hold a variety of regular entertainment. We’d even like to host events such as Christmas markets and family barbecues in the future.”