IImage by Amy Heycock
At the end of July, the time came to say goodbye to our space at Munro House. We were there for nine years, but as we came out of lockdown in Spring, we entered negotiations with our landlords to try and secure a new tenancy agreement and it became clear that priorities for all parties had shifted. We were unable to agree terms for a future at Munro, so we decided we should try to relocate
Becky measuring up the space way back in 2012
It was a tough decision for several reasons. We had just come out of what was, without doubt, the worst 13 months of our lives. Along with the rest of the retail community, we had spent a total of 7 1/2 months closed to the public. We had to work hard to trade online as best we could, and we had to cross all our fingers and toes that we would come out of it on the other side. We did...just about, but we didn't see this coming, and it was a horrible, badly-timed shock.
We have had some bloody good times at Munro House and adore our neighbours Sarto and Cafe 164. We hope we brought some good stuff to Quarry Hill and gave you all some experiences you enjoyed. We knew we wouldn't be there forever though, and the decision, in the end, was a no-brainer.
We contemplated closing and operating online only, but those of you that know us, know that we thrive on social interaction and couldn’t close down our physical presence just yet. The main thing being closed for over seven months taught us was that we loved being an actual, real-life shop.
Finding a suitable and affordable location in Leeds is almost impossible. We do not have investors or wealthy parents to help us, and we have always wanted to live within our means and maintain a great little shop. We are not ashamed of having such a simple vision. We aren't in this for the money; we do this because we love it, and we hope we are bringing something different to the city.
Celebrating our 6th birthday with 'Phantasm' Co-Curated with Lord Whitney. Photo by Helena Dolby
With this in mind, we have found what we think is the perfect spot inside Leeds' most beautiful building, the Corn Exchange! We are excited to be joining the growing family of incredible independents that are making the building buzz again. In the wake of the recent high street downturn, it feels as if something inspirational is happening under its beautiful domed roof.
Photo by Justin Slee
Colours May Vary Mk II. Still a work in progress but we love our new home. (Photo Justin Slee)
Waaay back in 2012, as we began our venture, we very nearly moved into the Corn Exchange. However, at the time, the building was under management that we could not get on board with. We knew that the space should be about colour, life, and individuality, but it seemed that they had the very opposite vision. With the swish of a Farrow and Ball-dipped paintbrush, everything was grey and bland and all the energy drained from it.
We watched as it changed hands and noted the gradual tweaks that were made to encourage life back into it. It's come a long way in the last few years.
For the (new) high street to survive, it must nurture individuality, inclusion, and creativity, while also building community - the Corn Exchange is a hub of all that. As independents, feeling vulnerable after a year and a half of slow footfall and forced closure, we feel the need to come together with other, like-minded businesses and support one another into the future. We know we have found the right home for us, a place where we can put down roots and grow again.
Plus It really is THE most beautiful building in our city.
Can't complain about the neighbours. Released Records are well worth a look.
We know we have left something special behind but it isn't forgotten, neither is the support you have given us over the last few years. Your support means we are still standing and we can't even tell you how bloody amazing that feels. For the first time in a long time we are looking forward to the future and we owe that all to you.
Come and see us soon in our new home.
Big Love, Team CMV