BOLTON Market’s new “lifestyle hall” is open for business after a £4.5 million revamp.
The indoor non-food market has been refurbished during the last 12 months.
Trade will partially begin in the new hall today with some of the stalls adding finishing touches and set to open over the coming weeks.
A celebration to mark the official reopening of Bolton Market following the refurbishment will take place on Valentine’s Day weekend on February 14 and 15.
Coined the “fall in love with Bolton weekend” by the council, all of the 40 stores in the hall — of which a third are entirely new to the market — will be ready to open at that time.
Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “The market plays a vital role in the regeneration of Bolton.
“It is one of our main shopping destinations and I’m really pleased that work on the new hall, which will make our market even better, is nearing an end.
“We hope to attract new visitors as well as the traditional market regulars. When all the work is complete the redevelopment will be a fantastic addition to Bolton.”
Newcomers to the hall include Great Ale Year Round, a micropub venture, The Coffee Grinder, a coffee bean company and Plantation Flowers, a business selling unique tropical flowers.
Another addition is Ooh It’s Lovely, a craft stall opened by former domestic violence support worker Zee Cooper.
She said: “I’m very excited about moving in here. I’ve only experienced the market as a shopper but this is a huge improvement.
“It will be great to get a couple of weeks business in first before the launch so we’re fully prepared.”
One stall which will be trading tomorrow is Past and Present, run by Bolton Market’s longest-serving trader, Barry Archer, aged 69, for the last 48 years.
He said: “This is fantastic. The last year outside has been a real struggle but hopefully it will pick up now. My first-ever customer was a woman, now in her 80s, who still comes to the stall now.”