Leeds ,

New speciality food traders sought for Leeds Kirkgate Market

As part of the multi-million pound refurbishment Leeds Kirkgate Market is on the look-out for traders who would be interested in opening new fresh produce stalls in the new fresh food hall.

The new combined fresh food area is due to be ready in the spring which is a completely new concept for the market. For the first time in its history, the market is bringing together meat, fish, game and other fresh food produce in one area. The existing well-known fishmongers, butchers, seafood stalls and greengrocers will already be there – so a strong customer base is guaranteed. With millions of visitors expected when Victoria Gate opens, the market will be able to make the most of increased footfall and customer spending, to supplement the existing 9 million visitors per year to this historic shopping destination in the heart of the city centre.

To introduce potential stall holders to what the market has to offer, Leeds City Council is holding two events in February prior to the opening of the new covered daily market, fresh produce area later this year.

The award winning market, which was recently named Britain’s Favourite Market, is looking for interesting, different and unique food and drink stalls to complement the traders who are already there. Some examples of the type of business the market is keen to introduce are:

  • Pies, homemade/handmade, hot and cold
  • Eggs, dairy, cheese
  • Organic produce
  • Local or farm produce
  • Delicatessen
  • World food; fresh, speciality, niche, supermarkets
  • Artisan breads/bakery
  • Patisserie
  • Ice cream parlour
  • Handmade chocolates
  • Smoothies, shakes, bubble tea, coffee
  • Micro brewery
  • Wine retailer

Traders who are interested in finding out more about having a stall in the new fresh produce area are being invited to come along to Kirkgate Market to see the redevelopment in progress and find out what opportunities are available to them. The events are on:

Monday 15th February, 5.15pm – 6.30pm

To book visit: http://kirk1.eventbrite.com

Wednesday 17th February, 7.15am – 9am

To book visit: http://kirk2.eventbrite.com

Places are limited so anybody interested is encouraged to book early via the above links. Or if they can’t make it but would like to find out more please phone 0113 378 1950 or email markets@leeds.gov.uk

Councillor Gerry Harper, deputy executive member responsible for regeneration, transport and planning, said:

“Home to some amazing characters, bursting with history and offering amazing value, we already know that Kirkgate Market has so much to offer traders, shoppers and visitors alike.

“We are very proud of what Kirkgate already has to offer and there will always be a place for the traditional produce and traders which our customers already know and love.

“This is a great opportunity to be part of one of the most exciting developments in Leeds today. We are looking for established speciality food businesses with something unique to offer to join forces with our existing well established and popular traders to help us create a highly successful, profitable and sustainable destination market which is a centre of excellence for independent retailers and entrepreneurs.”

Kirkgate was officially named as Britain’s favourite market at the annual conference of the National Association for British Markets last week after received the largest number of votes from the public.

Notes to editors:

Founded in 1857 and the birthplace of Marks and Spencer which still has a presence, Kirkgate Market is an iconic landmark and Grade 1 listed building and is the largest indoor Market in Europe. The Market provides a home to over 200 permanent businesses and up to 75 temporary stalls for speciality markets.

Leeds City Council has invested over £13 million in a major refurbishment, including redesigning the layout and offering everything today’s shopper might expect – bright spacious fresh food areas, space for speciality markets, a dedicated events space and a place to meet friends, sample cuisines from around the world, use free wi-fi or just people-watch. These smart new spaces, launching this spring will sit alongside the stunning architecture and traditional market layout of the Victorian and Edwardian halls, together providing some of the existing and well established traders at Kirkgate Market are already looking forward to moving into the new food hall this spring:

Jamie Ramsden – Ramsdens

A family run business for over 100 years; Jamie Ramsden has been behind the counter of one of Leeds Kirkgate Markets oldest stalls for over 20 years. The fourth generation of his family to take the mantle since Ramsden’s paired with Arthur Welham’s back in 1968; it’s their dedication to fresh produce and customer service that has seen them thrive decade after decade.

Sourcing fresh produce from across the world every day, their stall is one of the most eye-catching on Fish Row. Their selection can be intimidating to many, stocking exotic fish that you won’t see at the supermarket, but they’re proud of their knowledge and are always looking to help customers find what they’re after.

It’s not uncommon to see Jamie and his staff recommending produce to customers, offering it to them based on their own personal taste and knowledge of their fish. This tailor made approach to the customer is what Leeds Kirkgate Market is all about, and the fact that Ramsden’s have been there for nearly 100 years is concrete proof that it’s what people want.

But it’s not just those who visit Leeds Kirkgate Market that buy from Ramsden’s, they also supply schools, restaurants and pubs across the region. If you’ve ever had a fish dish at Sukhothai, then you’re eating Ramsden’s fresh fish from that morning.

‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ seems to be the attitude at Ramsden’s – that’s certainly why they’ve lasted so long. But Jamie is looking forward to the upcoming refurbishment of Leeds Kirkgate Market, simply stating that “It can only be a good thing.” With Fish and Butcher’s row coming together to make a temporary fresh produce area, before the refurbished area opens next year, the combined trade should see Ramsden’s classic approach to their business last another 100 years.

Cliff Hocken – Haye’s Seafood and Shellfish

The last place you’d expect to see stars of showbiz is at a stall in Leeds Kirkgate Market, but Haye’s has seen everyone from TV chef Brian Turner to folk singer Ralph McTell champion their fresh seafood and oysters.

Haye’s has been part of the market since 1880, with Cliff Hocken and his wife, Michelle, taking over the business back in 1984. Living around the markets their entire lives, with Michelle’s parents running their own stall once upon a time, they left their careers in banking and the motor trade in search of a change of pace.

Sourcing their seafood and shellfish locally, they pride themselves on “doing things a little differently from the rest.” They’re the only place in Leeds that dresses their crab on the premises, as well as selling fresh crab sandwiches. Their expertise when it comes to their produce is also something that sets them apart from the rest at Leeds Kirkgate Market, helping them gain a number of regular customers, some of which span five generations.

The history and heritage of Leeds Kirkgate Market is something that’s important to Cliff and Michelle and they’re hoping that upcoming changes – giving them a new stall in the refurbished fresh produce area – will maintain the importance of the local economy.

“Now more than ever, it’s important to support local business. You see grandparents showing their grandchildren around Leeds Kirkgate Market, it’s about maintaining that history and heritage, and hopefully these changes should see the markets come full circle. It offers service and expertise that you simply can’t get anywhere else.”

Michael Saynor – Malcolm Michaels Butchers

One of the most popular stalls in Leeds Kirkgate Market, Malcolm Michaels has been providing people across the region with truly local meat for over 20 years.

Michael Saynor, who runs the stall with nephew Malcolm Leary – hence the name – got into the butchery business running the previous stall with Malcolm’s dad, after it opened in 1968. Starting up on his own in 1993, he’s decided that a family business is the best kind of business, bringing in two more nephews when he opened up the second unit next door.

When it comes to the meat itself, Michael is a little bit modest, “we don’t really offer anything that different to many other butchers.” But what really sets Malcolm Michaels apart is their quality. “We only sell meat that’s locally sourced. In fact, it’s so locally sourced that the furthest we travel for it is Bradford.”

One thing that does set them apart is their dedication to their product. Preparing everything on the premises, they even make their own sausages, offering up to 15 different varieties, including simple pork and more exotic fare like chilli and mixed herbs.

These are some of their most popular items throughout the summer months. In fact, it was a barbecue that grabbed Malcolm Michaels some of their most loyal customers. “We did a barbecue for Francis Cummins’ testimonial event at Leeds Rhinos. Since then we’ve become a sponsor for Leeds Rhinos Academy and their players shop with us regularly.”

Not content with fuelling one of the country’s most successful rugby teams, Malcolm Michaels also supply a number of restaurants, cafes and pubs across the city, including Sunshine Bakery and Sesame.

As much a fixture in the city as Leeds Kirkgate Market itself, they’re even known in Europe, with a Swedish newspaper once covering their exploits. But they’ll only ever be faithful to Leeds. If the giant Union Jack above their entrance doesn’t give that away. “We like being in Leeds because of the people. At the end of the day, we are what we are, and that attitude is why our customers come to us.”

When it comes to future plans for Malcolm Michaels, Michael is full of ideas. “We’ll have a bigger space, so we’re looking to introduce a wider selection in terms of meat, but also to open a deli counter with cheese, pies all that stuff. It’s something I’ve tried in the past, but we’ve never had the space before.”

Kirkgate Market won the TripAdvisor Award for Excellence in 2014 and 2015, and has a large and loyal following on social media with over 19,000 followers on Twitter, and over 5000 followers on Facebook as well as its own dedicated customer-facing website, www.leedsmarkets.co.uk and many of our traders already have a significant social media following, enjoying loyal customers who continually have positive relationships and levels of engagement with their favourite stall holders.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk