Despite being prominently visited by Mohammed Ali in 1974, there is no denying that over the years, Stretford Mall lost its charm.
But, thanks to efforts from Trafford Council, Bruntwood Works, and local business entrepreneurs, Stretford Mall has surpassed its past glory with a delightful food hall surrounded by innovative local businesses, including The Hive.
Despite only being open two days before the national lockdown in March, and now operating as take-away only, The Hive is perhaps the centrepiece of a blossoming ‘Stretford Strip’.
As well as already offering breakfast every morning, a roast dinner every Sunday, and a delicious array of innovative meals all day long, The Hive’s menu is still improving.
The recent launch of the Healthy Hive branch of their menu adds another layer of deliciousness to this business, with offerings such as curried mushrooms and vegan hotdogs.
Co-Owner Chris Herbert said: “We had all this time during lockdown, so we have basically opened a COVID restaurant bar.
“Every single thing down to the smallest detail is a COVID friendly bar because we have known nothing else.”
Over 11 thousand people have been through their doors since July, and they boast zero cases of Coronavirus related to the business, despite taking every single person’s temperature and track and trace personal details, instead of the general one person per group rule.
The key for these business owners was providing a local but cool atmosphere that enabled people to have a night out that they could safely walk home from, and despite COVID, this goal has not changed.
Chris said: “It’s only going to get better. COVID and what’s happened and lockdown, it’s just an obstacle that Stretford is going to get over, this isn’t going to kill Stretford off. It’s only going to make Stretford stronger.
“The ‘local’ is going to thrive again.”
The Stretford FoodHall has also become a symbol of the change in Stretford, providing a constant turnover of delicious independent vendors, and this year even providing christmas trees that can be delivered to your door.
‘A Convenient Store’, located inside the Hall, are already open for pre-orders of locally sourced Christmas trees, alongside grocery deliveries that arrive at your door in two hours.
The Food Hall also collected food and household items during lockdown for charity, and recently on facebook they announced that they were widening the organizations they were donating to.
The current resident vendors are Herbivorous and Dim Sum Su, which offer delicious vegan meals and dim sum, among other things.
Hannah, supervisor on the retail side of the FoodHall said: “It has been an absolute pro for the community, we have loads of regulars that constantly come in and it is gorgeous seeing the same faces, especially through COVID.”
The Foodhall also ensures that it uses local vendors for its produce, in order to inject profits back into the community, something desperately needed during these COVID times.
Whilst definitive prospective plans for Stretford are uncertain because of the pandemic, it is clear that the future is bright for this blossoming area.