Thursday 4 July marks Independence Day but in Leeds, the iconic Corn Exchange is celebrating its independent retailers through its own campaign ‘Independents’ Day’.
Boasting 30 unique retailers of fashion, eyewear, music, home and garden, food and further locally sourced goods, the iconic Grade-1 listed building positioned at the peak of Kirkgate is a Leeds landmark.
Designed by revered British architect Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds Corn Exchange opened its doors to corn traders in 1864 and while the high-street has recently suffered tumultuous times, Thursday 4 July offers a chance to shine a light on some of the city’s innovative retail pioneers.
The building is opening its doors and encouraging the public to champion the independent retailers positioned within the iconic building.
The public is invited to attend and visit the retailers throughout the day with live demos and unique offers available in support of the campaign including craft jewellers Simcha Gallery which is holding a chance to ‘meet the makers’, see the work being made and try their hand at the working bench, to solder metals together.
Other tenants include Fabrikk – an ethical fashionwear brand using vegan cork, among other locally-sourced materials, Fabrikk’s range includes unisex, women and menswear from flat caps and wallets to a pioneering LED light technology handbag. The building’s newest tenant, Eyekit, is a global family-run firm which combines traditional optometry with a speciality in sports and leisure eyewear.
The jungle-life Plant Point is home to a range of plants and all your gardening needs, offering a captivating retail experience rather than a basic transactional approach.
“Our 150-year old venue is brimming with independent retailers and talented entrepreneurs that are reaping the rewards of taking up a physical space in the heart of Leeds,” says Adam Warner, Leeds Corn Exchange centre manager, “we’re building a community of independent-minded retailers, a sea of underdogs that will use digital developments as a string to their bow. Not fighting online shopping but embracing technology to work in an offline experience.” He adds, “Small independent retailers are the lifeblood of our city and as a community we actively support them by keeping Leeds Corn Exchange a beating city platform, embracing change and evolving with it.”