Sneak peek: The return of Ripon’s department store
Last updated Jul 9, 2021
Photo of Hedley Hall, Liz and Mike Cooper
Hedley Hall (left) and Mike and Liz Cooper worked with Lloyd Sheard to keep the dream alive for independents in Ripon

A new-look independent high street venture opens in a familiar Ripon setting at 9am tomorrow.

Halls of Ripon is in the Fishergate building that formerly housed the Philip Hall and Wrens department stores.

The coronavirus crisis signalled the end for some retailers in towns and city centres, but four former Wrens tenants kept their dream for independents alive.

Photo of Linda Liversidge at Halls of Ripon

Linda Liversidge at her Legs & Co stall, where she sells classic and vintage fashion for women and men

Mike and Liz Cooper, Hedley Hall and Lloyd Sheard devised a plan while selling their respective goods from a temporary location in Queen Street.

Tomorrow, their dream becomes reality.

Mr Cooper told the Stray Ferret:

“We are home to 22 small retailers – 15 of which are coming to open in high-street premises for the first time.

“The demand for space has been phenomenal and we have attracted a great mix of businesses, selling items ranging from hand-made gifts and home furnishings, to womenswear and jewellery.”

Ripon 8th July 2021 David Ward and Keeley Buller Halls of Ripon

Keeley Buller and her partner David Ward will be selling cakes, beverages and other refreshments at The Hive coffee shop within Halls of Ripon

He added:

“Our aim is to take independent retailing in the city into a new era, while creating a department store experience with a level of service that is attractive to customers.

“Each retailer has  their own facilities for debit and credit card transactions.”

Traders who also want sell online can call on Ben Butler, who is running his e-commerce sales and marketing business at Halls of Ripon.

Goods on sale include famous-name model vintage cars

Mr Hall’s antiques, collectables and vintage model business was in the former Wrens department store from the day it opened.

He said:

“Mark Butler’s highly innovative and award-winning concept sadly suffered because of the covid lockdowns at key trading periods last summer and pre-Christmas.

“We have taken his ideas forward and, by continuing to provide affordable space with no strings attached, have created a platform designed to help small businesses to succeed.”

Photo inside Halls of Ripon

A broad spectrum of retailers have joined the department store

Because of its long history, heritage and natural attractions, Ripon in non-covid times has benefited from year-round trade brought by tourists and the local population.

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Mr Sheard pointed out:

“There has always been the demand for a department store of this nature in Ripon.

“It is attractive to traders like myself, because it is in a fantastic location for footfall.”

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