Manchester Evening News

‘A HUGE LOSS’

Foodhall owners heartbroke­n as they announce it will be closing after 4 years, writes

- Jenna Campbell

THE owners of Stretford Foodhall have shared a heartbreak­ing update about its future. Owners have said they have ‘no more left in the tank’ and will be closing for good next weekend.

Sharing the news on social media, proprietor Mital Morar said it has been a ‘tortuous few years’ for the Foodhalls brand as they struggled to recover from the pandemic. He also cited inflation, the cost of living criss and the ‘crazy enduring energy crisis’ as reasons for its closure.

Stretford Foodhall opened its doors back in July 2019 and encompasse­d street food stalls, a craft beer bar, coffee counter and a self-styled corner shop packed with groceries. It was launched by Mital Morar as part of Store Group – now known as CG Group – the same group that owns the General Store Brand, and operated the Sale Foodhall, which also sadly closed its doors last March due to “unpreceden­ted” cost increases.

In the post shared on the Stretford Foodhall Instagram account this morning, they said it came with ‘great sadness and torment’ to confirm that it will close its doors on Sunday, 11 February.

They wrote: “Opening in 2019 to much risk and applaud we very quickly had problems!

“We were too busy, didn’t have enough seats and had to evolve very quickly. A good problem! For all the naysayers, Stretford supported us and we couldn’t have been happier.”

Explaining the issues they’ve faced, they added: “We hadn’t even traded one year and along came covid and changed all that. We haven’t ever really recovered.

“Whilst trading through, winning awards, doing takeaway food and coffee, we evolved as much as we could with what we could post covid. Entering inflation, cost of living crisis and this crazy enduring energy situation... we have no more left in the tank.”

The owners of the foodhall added they are still involved with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority dialogue in lobbying government for change in the hospitalit­y sector, and said “too many friends are suffering and we stand with you”.

“We are very conscious of our strengths and weaknesses. We are very conscious of the current environmen­t and we have tried our best with all the headwinds to make a go of it and keep going for the greater good.

“We are grateful for the support from our customers, our relationsh­ips with food traders and suppliers. We appreciate Bruntwood who helped where they could and we have no doubt the new and final vision will deliver the goods. Sadly, our part in this journey cannot continue. We are acutely aware, on this journey of survival, we have let some people down.

“We apologise unreserved­ly for this and hope to make it right one day. As you know, our roots are embedded in retail. We will continue on this journey and navigate this tough environmen­t there.”

Explaining that the post was authored by Mital, they explained that the closure wasn’t due to their colleagues in branch, including the traders, who they said has also endured “a tough ride of uncertaint­y and changing decisions day to day”.

They added: “We have had to become an operation we don’t aspire to be and this too cannot continue. We thank you for your service and will support your roles and continuity as best we can. You are all individual and amazing and we wish you only the best for the future.”

Continuing the post in the comments, they also extended their ‘heartfelt thanks’ to the food traders, creatives, pop-ups, breweries, artists and more who had ‘engaged and explored this road with us in Stretford.’

“Our warmest wishes to our business neighbours and community friends who have humbled us with your friendship. We will meet again one day. As a Manchester born and bred business, local and independen­t, our confidence and Ikigai (as Masako once taught us) has been knocked. It has been a tortuous few years.

“But we get up and fight daily.

Whilst we are closing, we haven’t given up. We look forward to serving you again one day... for now see us at generalsto­res.”

The post was flooded with hundreds of comments, as residents and visitors shared their sadness at the news, and wrote of the impact of the food, drink and shopping hub in the town.

One wrote: “So sorry to hear this, we’ve loved coming here as a family, you offered something for everyone. We’ll be so sad to see you close.”

Another added: “This is devastatin­g news, not only for us,the community but also for you.”

A third said: “So sorry to hear this. Love Stretford Foodhall and also loved Sale. A big loss to the community. Good luck to you and all the staff for the future.”

Echoing this, another wrote: “This is devastatin­g news, not only for us,the community but also for you.”

And another simply wrote: “This is really s***. A huge loss to Stretford.”

Food trader Desert Island Dumplings, which had a concession in the foodhall wrote: “So sad to hear this. You guys helped me find my feet in the mcr food scene and champion so many small independen­t businesses! Wishing all the best for future projects.

“Stretford will sorely miss you!”

 ?? ?? Cocktails prepared at a hall bar at the opening in 2019
Cocktails prepared at a hall bar at the opening in 2019
 ?? ?? Stretford Food hall
Stretford Food hall

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