Posted On: 14 Feb 2018

It seems that love is proving to be the magic ingredient for retailers at The Piece Hall, as two independent businesses run by couples in the Grade I listed former cloth hall are continuing to bloom since setting up shop.

After 20 years working in finance, Loafers Vinyl & Coffee owner Mark Richardson decided to take the plunge and follow his dream of opening a record shop. Mark initially set sail by himself, but when sales exceeded expectations in the opening month, he convinced Sarah, his partner of four years, to jump ship, leave her job in insurance and join him in the world of music retail.

Mark comments, “Sarah and I actually met through work, but we’d never properly worked together until she joined me in the shop. I like to think our working relationship is similar to Lennon and McCartney – Sarah is on it with the admin and sorting out all the orders, whereas I tend to stay front of house, managing all our events and social media as well as being the face behind the counter.”

And the music-mad couple’s Piece Hall love story doesn’t end in the shop; on the opening day of the newly renovated heritage destination, Mark got down on one knee and proposed to Sarah under the stars. As well as getting engaged, the couple are expecting a baby in June; a brand-new addition to The Piece Hall family.

Another couple that are feeling the love at The Piece Hall are Lisa Jakimciw and Justin Thomas, owners of restaurant and bar Elder and married for five years. Before setting up at The Piece Hall, the couple started out by hosting supper clubs in their front room, eventually going on to establish The Bootleg Belly pop-up restaurants which toured throughout the country. It was hearing about the reopening of The Piece Hall that spurred the couple on to open their first restaurant, and they haven’t looked back since. Lisa comments

“It’s always a big gamble to start a new business, especially with your partner, but it’s a gamble that’s definitely paid off for us! Working together allows us to share our ideas and our passion for food, and there’s no better place to do that than The Piece Hall. It also means we’re no longer tripping over each other at home while serving supper club guests in our living room!”

Since reopening to the public in August 2017, The Piece Hall is now home to 28 independent businesses, from record shops and restaurants to book shops and bars.

Supported by
The Piece Hall heritage regeneration project is also supported by Garfield Weston Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation.
The Piece Hall is independently managed by The Piece Hall Trust, a registered charity, number 1156948. Registered in England and Wales, number 08906735.
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