The owner of an independent shop in Leeds Corn Exchange has advised that whatever challenges 2020 may bring to retailers, he is confident that a collaborative approach with property owners is the key to success.

Guy Haynes is the founder of On The Wall which sells art prints, posters, gifts and memorabilia. Based in Leeds Corn Exchange where it began in 2004, Guy has been working with the building’s owner Rushbond to support the future and vision of both the building and the tenants within it.

Guy enjoyed his firm’s first four years of business in the iconic building until the 2008 closure to tenants under previous owners Zurich. Having moved to Boar Lane, Guy returned to Leeds Corn Exchange in February 2018 under the new ownership of Rushbond, confident the new vision for the city’s key venue was instrumental in his shop’s own growth.

Guy explains:

“Whilst having to move out of Leeds Corn Exchange in 2008 was a hard blow not just to me and fellow tenants, many residents and business owners in Leeds felt the hurt too. The following owners struggled to get the buy-in back from independent business owners but then I heard what new owners Rushbond were doing and made contact. With their commitment to support local and become the home of independents once more, I returned and have spent the past few months working with Rushbond to ensure the right strategy is in place to support all of us here.

“I am confident that Rushbond are standing by their word. We’ve already seen improvements under their ownership and whilst we still have improvements to make, I know that strengthening links with other retailers here is key to that and something I’m committed to supporting, Afterall, what benefits other tenants and the Exchange will ultimately benefit my business too.”

Centre manager for Leeds Corn Exchange, Adam Warner, who is employed by Rushbond comments:

“It is a pleasure to work alongside tenants such as Guy who shares the vision we have to see Leeds Corn Exchange as a thriving place to trade business in Leeds. We know that in order to flourish, our shops need to offer something alternative to the high street, offer unique experiences, knowledge, events and new pop-ups which brings the energy of new shop and ultimately more footfall.

“Guy is well placed to advise of future plans from a shop owner’s point of view and we’re confident that working together, our retailers will be supported and offered an environment to thrive within.”

Rushbond took over ownership of Leeds Corn Exchange in 2017 and have since installed a new disabled-friendly ramp, art installations on the stairs, colourful shop fronts and the bird song to the entrance to enhance the experience of visitors to the building. Plans to open a food court to the lower ground floor are in development and plans to open in 2020.