As HoH Food Hall celebrates its launch weekend, we had a chat with Kathryn Shillito, Executive Director of HullBID, to find out how the organisation is supporting the rejuvenation of the historic building.
“The original Hammonds store is a grand, imposing building that’s smack-bang in front of Paragon Interchange,” says Kathryn. “When we first found out that it was closing down we were very concerned, not only in losing the House of Fraser brand, but also, the prospect of visitors seeing a large, empty retail unit wouldn’t look good.
“We had early discussions with the agent acting on behalf of the building’s owners, with one of the very first meetings focusing on how online shopping has taken a big chunk of the market and physical retail is diminishing. This meant that the reality of the building becoming a large retail store again was very slim, and ideas began to emerge around a food hall concept.”
Fast forward to today and HoH Food Hall has now launched an exciting dining, retail and cultural offering the likes of which our city has never seen. With multiple places to eat, drink, relax and experience an eclectic music programme, it easily rivals foodie destinations in Leeds, Manchester and even London.
“HullBID has supported HoH Food Hall since day one,” says Kathryn. “In those early days we watched the brand come to life and were part of the journey. We helped the team by sharing our knowledge of the city centre and how it was performing generally, including new businesses opening, and how residential property was taking off. Practical information such as pedestrian flow and contacts we had in the food and beverage sector also helped contribute to the final template of an artisan food hall. Our work isn’t finished yet though, and we’ll continue to promote HoH far and wide.”
HullBID is also very much part of the launch weekend, as its hugely popular Hull Street Food Nights is coinciding with the opening of the thoroughly renovated store. Today (Friday 3 December) and tomorrow (Saturday 4 December) you’ll find a wide range of lip-smacking street food vendors outside HoH Food Hall, including Viet Memories, Love Hog Roast, Istanbul Grill, Shiok Singapore, Pieoneers, Senor Churro, Northern Pourists and Juniper 1933.
“Hull Street Food Nights has a huge following and people love exploring the many types of savoury dishes, sweet treats and delicious beverages available,” says Kathryn. “Combining our event with the official opening of HoH Food Hall made perfect sense, as it creates a huge celebration of mouth-watering food, local music and excellent company.”
As well as talking about the food hall through its website, social media channels and email campaigns, HullBID also again welcomes HoH Food Hall as a category sponsor at the HullBID Awards ceremony on 25th February 2022.
“It’s this kind of multi-layered collaboration that makes Hull city centre such a success,” says Kathryn. “Everyone is passionate about working together, from the team here at HullBID and everyone at Hull City Council, to the city centre’s many businesses and a variety of other stakeholders. There’s a real community spirit in Hull and it enables amazing things like HoH Food Hall to turn from a dream into reality.”