On the Sofa With...Richard Ropner of Weetons Food Hall
Welcome to our first edition of "On the Sofa With..." where every month we'll be dedicating a Q & A session to someone either from the local area or in the property world with an interesting story to tell!
This month’s edition of “On the Sofa With…” takes us to an Aladdin’s cave of luxurious artisan produce. Residing in the heart of West Park, Harrogate, any local worth their salt is familiar with Weetons Food Hall which has been a favourite of ours since the doors opened. We sat down with Richard Ropner of Weetons Marketing team to find out more about their history and why supporting local and artisan businesses is so important to them.
Tell us about the history of Weetons?
“We were established in 2005 by Andrew Loftus who had the ambition of creating a town centre location for local farmers and food producers to be able to showcase and sell their produce. In 2013 Andrew sold the business to Tim Whitworth of Tim Group Holdings and we officially became Weetons Food Hall. Tim had a personal interest in Weetons as his family are from a butchery background - next time you come in have a look at the picture by the window at the front of the shop as that’s Tim’s family’s original butchers shop!
Since then we have continued to grow at pace through introducing lines such as our Chef to Go range which is also stocked in selected partners such as Campbells of Leyburn.
2017 has been a very exciting year for us as we have recently acquired additional space on the Follifoot Retail Park to help us meet increasing demand whilst at the same time maintaining our mission statement of being “exceptional every day!”
There’s an abundance of fabulous artisan food producers both in Yorkshire and throughout the UK. How do you select the ones that you stock in store?
“We have a dedicated team who are constantly on the lookout for new and interesting products and producers. We start nearby and if we can’t find what we’re looking for locally we extend our search.
We’re also lucky given our reputation and location that artisan producers often just walk in with tasting samples!”
If you had one piece of advice for artisan producers on how to get noticed by food halls such as Weetons what would it be?
“Come and see us! We really welcome the producers that do just walk in because they have so much passion and belief in their products. We always make time for trying new things and if we feel there's a gap in our offering that could be filled then we’ll fill it.”
Why did Weetons choose Harrogate as its home?
"There was a real gap in the market for a town centre store that offered premium local produce when we set up in 2005. We also find that the residents of Harrogate and its visitors expect a certain level of excellence but also have a huge appreciation for their surroundings. This combination of characteristics fits perfectly with our offering and we’re equally as proud to call Harrogate our home."
Supporting local and artisan trade is clearly at the heart of what Weetons do. Tell us why it’s so important to you?
“Harrogate is a hub for ambitious business owners not only in food and drink but across the board. Given our Yorkshire roots we love to support fellow Yorkshire brands where we can both inside and outside of the store.”
Working for Weetons you’re surrounded by the most luxurious food and drinks daily. If you could only take three items to a desert island what would they be?
“Definitely a Weetons chocolate bar as there’s no better! I’d also have to take our delicious Fish Pie from the Chef to Go range and given that I’m on a desert island I’ll need to stay hydrated, so it’d have to be one of our Arizona Green Teas!”
We’re extremely proud to be partnering with an established Yorkshire brand like Weetons Food Hall - read more about our partnership here.
To find out more about Weetons and what they have in store visit their website: