Have you been to Hatch yet? It’s the Instagrammable, brightly-coloured community for 30 traders, creators, makers and street food operators, under the Mancunian Way on Manchester’s Oxford Road.
Hatch has breathed new life into this unloved part of the Oxford Road corridor. It’s somewhere to meet friends for a beer at Ol nano-brewery, have a coffee at Takk, sample Vietnamese summer rolls from Hanoi 75’s double-decker bus and drop off trainers to be spruced up at Sneaker Pharm. Aimed at the discerning customer, everyone who makes the pilgrimage here has one thing in common: they relish the unique experience of eating, drinking and browsing at independents.
Meet and greet
I was invited, on behalf of Northern Soul, to meet three leading independent businesses who call Hatch home, attend a panel discussion and sample some delicious Thessaloniki-style street food from The Kitchen. Held at Number 8 bar, the event was overseen by Andrea George, head of retail and leisure at Bruntwood, Hatch’s landlord and a company which works with some of the city’s leading independent trading spaces.
The evening explored how Hatch has become a start-up incubator in the food, drink and retail sectors in Manchester. The place-making ethos behind this exciting pop-up space is to offer flexible opportunities for retail and leisure concepts, work spaces and create a thriving and soulful community.
Three independent retailers were on show at the event, including:
Nicki Gillon and her husband Odi from The Kitchen discussed how they’d chosen to develop a new branch of The Kitchen at Hatch, after starting out in Westhoughton, Bolton. They said: “We were drawn to Hatch because of Manchester’s openness to trying different types of food. The city council is very keen to support entrepreneurs and the community at Hatch is great for making connections.”
The restaurant’s menu includes different types of tacos, souvlaki, which are Greek corn pittas, halloumi fries and Loukamades, traditional miniature Greek doughnuts. These dishes are all inspired by Thessaloniki, a culinary city where young chefs have refreshed traditional Greek food.
Barbara-Ann Currie introduced us to her artisan chocolate boutique – Choc. This shop is a real gem and serves up a variety of chocolate bars, wrapped in bespoke designs by local artists and creatives, alongside a selection of chocolate truffles, chocolate coated nuts, dates and hot chocolate.
Jenny Maxwell, founder of Scandi lifestyle brand Nordic Muse, explained how she makes her own label jewellery and sells curated homeware. She offers minimalist necklaces, stacked rings, geometric pieces and Scandi-influenced cards, stationery, well-being and travel essentials.
She said: “I’m Hatch’s longest serving trader, having started in 2014 after running artisan markets stalls as a hobby. I have a background in retail and am a former head of e-commerce for a global design house. I felt it was important to open a physical, rather than online shop, as online shopping lacks a personal touch. It’s my role as a shopkeeper to talk to customers, advise on gift choices and offer a peaceful and friendly shopping experience.”
Hatch is a creative community hub in which to work, shop and play, a venue that blurs the lines between shopping and socialising. It’s exactly what the ailing high street needs right now.
Photo credit: Photo by Jack Kirwin – JK Photography