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Preston Market Hall celebrates five-year anniversary

Posted on - 12th March, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Food & Drink, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News, Proud Preston
Traders celebrate the Market Hall's 5th anniversary Pic: Lisa Brown Photography
Traders celebrate the Market Hall’s 5th anniversary Pic: Lisa Brown Photography

Traders came together this week to celebrate Preston Market Hall’s fifth birthday.

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To mark the special anniversary, traders gathered together, along with Councillor Carol Henshaw, at the iconic Wallace and Gromit bench, for an official photo. Many traders have decorated their stalls for the occasion.

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The Tipsy Chef street food restaurant opened in April 2022. Jay Oats, owner of Tipsy Chef, said: “After over a decade of running kitchens in and around Lancashire, I decided during lockdown that I wanted to go out on my own, to use my knowledge and experience to create something special. 

“Preston fitted the bill as the perfect place to open my first little business and where better to start than a thriving indoor Market Hall full of passionate, small, family run, local business with access to fresh ingredients every morning.”

Jay Oates of Tipsy Chef Pic: Lisa Brown Photography
Jay Oates of Tipsy Chef Pic: Lisa Brown Photography

Reflecting on some of the highlights from the past year, Jay said: “We will be open a year in April, and we have gone from strength-to-strength. Every week we break our own records.

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“A few stand out milestones for me are, joining up with Baluga where we sell out bottomless brunches every month. We then had a visit from the famous competitive eater, BeardMeatsFood who took on our eating challenge. The video of this now has nearly 4 million views on his YouTube channel. We also joined Uber Eats, so our menu is now available for home delivery.”

Read more: Europe’s number one competitive eater came to Preston Markets and vanquished Tipsy Chef’s meal challenge

Preston’s history as a market town dates back to 1179 when King Henry II granted Preston a Guild Merchant charter. The current market canopy was built in 1875 to house Preston’s growing market traders and nearly 150 years later, the Victorian structure is still standing.  

Karen Davie is a long-time trader at Preston Markets and has been trading as Karen’s Collectables for more than 20 years. She is currently based on the Box Market selling a huge range of items from collectables such as coins, militaria, pocket watches to silver jewellery such as rings, bangles and chains.  

Karen Davie of Karen's Collectables Pic: Lisa Brown Photography
Karen Davie of Karen’s Collectables Pic: Lisa Brown Photography

Karen said: “I started off with my stall on the Outdoor Market, and I was trading there for many years. I was asked to join the Box Market when it opened in 2018 and I jumped at the chance.

“The addition of the Market Hall has really brought Preston Markets up to date, and the stalls still sell the amazing fresh, local produce that they used to. It looks much more modern now and I’m really looking forward to the new Animate development opening and what that will bring with it.”

Regeneration plans are ongoing for Animate, a £45m entertainment and leisure complex. This will include a cinema, bowling alley, bars and restaurants on the site of the former indoor market, designed to ensure Preston city centre stays relevant to the ever-evolving social needs of the local residents, growing student population and visitors to Preston.

Read more: Café bar chain Loungers coming to Preston’s Animate leisure complex

Councillor Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council, said: “Preston Markets has been at the heart of the city centre for over a century, a hub of activity supplying local produce to residents and visitors alike. Our new Animate scheme will enhance the Markets and bring more people into the city centre.  

“Building the new Market Hall and the renovation of the original Victorian canopy in 2018 meant that this proud Preston asset could continue. Over the last five years, the Market Hall has seen many small businesses both new and established, grow and thrive. Some have expanded within the Market Hall, others that began there moving on to new locations but the last five years haven’t all been smooth sailing. 

“When the Covid lockdowns hit in 2020, just two years after the official opening of the new Market Hall, supermarket shelves were empty, and many businesses were not able to open to the public. However many Preston Market traders began offering delivery of their quality, local produce to their valued customers, ensuring that their vital service was not lost.

“When shopping returned to normal, those customers came back to the Market Hall in their droves and we are very grateful for their continued support. Preston Markets is a successful example of the community wealth building strategy, which is implemented by Preston City Council, enhancing the local economy.”

Read more: Preston Market traders open second stall

Councillor Carol Henshaw, City Centre ward Councillor for Preston City Council, said: “It was wonderful to visit Preston Markets for this special occasion. I enjoyed chatting with traders who work hard to create this city centre hub.

“It is also thanks to the people of Preston who choose to shop local and support local businesses, that Preston Market Hall has been a success.

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“I am very excited to see how the Animate scheme will enhance this area even more over the coming years.”

For more information on opening times and the stalls that can be found in the Market Hall, visit the Preston Markets website.

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