The entrepreneur behind one of Manchester’s trendiest convenience stores and community hubs has announced he will be opening a new foodhall with shop, bar, and social meeting space at Stretford Mall creating 15 jobs.
Mital Morar, the man behind Ancoats General Store, in the heart of the Ancoats area of Manchester, has signed a 15-year lease on a 6,000 square foot unit at Stretford Mall, which is currently undergoing a major redevelopment.
His plan is to transform the ground floor of the former Argos store into a convenience store and ‘social space’ which will stock all the day to day necessities at a competitive price alongside locally sourced food, drink, and other items.
The Stretford Foodhall, which is due to be opened in the Spring, will have opening hours of 7 am to 11 pm.
The foodhall will be fully licensed with half of the unit dedicated to a place for people to enjoy a meal, live music, events such as quizzes and its walls will become a gallery for local artists.
Gareth Wilkins, Stretford Mall Manager, said the news was a massive boost for the Mall and the local community and its economy.
It comes as Stretford Mall is currently undergoing major redevelopment with the first £2.5m phase of works including a new entrance due to be completed in the next few months.
Mr Wilkins said: “The Stretford Foodhall is the result of months of hard work from the extended team at Stretford Mall, from the Mall’s owners right through to the site team here who manage the centre on a day to day basis. We are all so pleased to be welcoming it.
“It’s a crucial part of our ambition to generate a night time economy for Stretford Mall and an active frontage along Chester Rd, and its position below Pure Gym means it can be part of an area outside the Mall which can be open even when the rest of the centre is closed.”
“We know there is huge demand from local people for this type of provision and I am sure it will be very well received by the Stretford community.
“It’s fantastic news and we are looking forward to work starting on transforming the unit early in the new year.”
Mital was born and brought up in Manchester and worked in his parents’ shop from being a small boy.
Alongside Ancoats General Store, he also operates convenience shops in Castlefield, Moss Side and Salford, making the Stretford Food hall the fifth business in hi soperation.
He said: “We are at our core a convenience store business offering everyday things for everyday prices. Everyone needs eggs, milk, bread and all that will be readily available.
“But we also provide organic, vegan and locally branded products as well and that gives us a high point of difference from the retail competition.
“Our aim is to go back to stores in the olden days when they were not just a place to shop, but a destination, somewhere people could meet, socialise and enjoy the whole process of shopping.
“The new Stretford Foodhall is exciting for us because it is larger and will be an extension of what we do at the Ancoats store and what we have been successfully experimenting with there.
“We collaborate at Ancoats with street food vendors, local DJs, musicians and artists. We create a space where people want to spend time and where we can work together with local people’s businesses, and talents flourish too.”
Mital is keen for people in the Stretford community to contact his team if they have produce, a product or a talent which could be showcased in the new store.
He added: “We want to hear from people in Stretford. It could be someone who makes their own honey, a local jewellery maker or even a face painter because we want to make the new store as family friendly as possible. The aim is that they can bring their brand to life within us, as a concession.
“Stretford is, in my opinion, untouched in terms of our type of offering and it already has a strong and vibrant community who, from research I have done, are very keen to see a business like this open up.
“There are lots of families here and I think the whole community would benefit from a store like ours and I think it is the sort of place they are very keen to engage with and we are very keen to engage with them.”