The Piece Hall in Halifax has recorded its biggest weekend since reopening in 2017 following a £ 19 million transformation of the heritage landmark.
The peak of passage of 58,580 people coincided with the launch of Winter Makers Markets in the retail, hotel, leisure and cultural sectors.
A Grade I listed site, it features independent local craft stalls, artisans, and pop-up food and drink stalls. There was significant growth in the 2019 Christmas market before the pandemic of 37,918.
The data, gleaned from automated technology, supports broader numbers suggesting that November will also be The Piece Hall’s busiest month since the relaunch.
Nicky Chance-Thompson, Executive Director of The Piece Hall Trust, said: “The fact that we have had such an incredible weekend is testament to the hard work of our team since we reopened, as well as the resilience and determination of our wonderful Independent retailers who have worked hard to help bring people back through our historic doors.
“The demand we have seen, which not only compares to but exceeds pre-pandemic levels, is another step forward in The Piece Hall’s growth trajectory since its transformation, and we look forward to sharing more exciting plans for the future.
“It also shows the appetite that people have to go out and support their local merchants, particularly in the all-important run-up to Christmas. The holiday shopping season is a big event on the calendar for many large retailers, but we really encourage people to consider doing things a little differently this year and choose to support independent retailers. “
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Preparations are underway for the second Winter Makers Market taking place this weekend and the remainder of the 2021 holiday program, which will see the venue host a spectacular lineup of musical performances by artists such as the Buzzcocks, rapper Graft and the legend of Ibiza. Ellie Sax, as well as other activities for the whole family, including Comedy Club nights and Christmas movie screenings.
Shelly Foster, owner of Handmade gift shop within West Yorkshire Conservation Gem, said: “What an amazing weekend here at The Piece Hall with the market, the shoppers, the whole setting, everyone loved it. I was four times busier than usual on Saturday, we literally didn’t stop, it was like Christmas was coming early.
“It seems like everyone loves staying local now, which is great for us. We stock the work of 67 Yorkshire artisans in this store (they are all small independent businesses we trust) and they trust us. We’ve taken all these great things off the internet and put them in this one store, and people love it. We have a lot of followers. If we can get something positive out of the pandemic, it is that people have realized what they have right on their doorstep. “