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Creating Favourite Spaces

As we get set to open your new all day dining space at Hoopers, our CEO, Stefano, shares a little insight into how we create favourite spaces….

We create what we call ‘Favourite Places’, where people can breathe out, relax and feel comfortable.  We’re not into flashy décor, because we think that the produce should be the star of the show, whilst the look and feel of our spaces reflects our stories.

Tractor Shed to Food Hall

As a family business, we are all about stories. We like to shine a light on the heritage of our buildings, so that we can link our community to these spaces by creating subtle textures that will lead to questions, conversation and ultimately pride in the surroundings.  For example, in Faversham our food hall looks like a battered old tractor shed, because it WAS a battered old tractor shed!

Look further past the building and you will see reminders of the past, oasthouses, barns, Nissen huts – all the infrastructure of a working farm that has evolved over decades of changing agricultural needs.

Cattle Market to Grocer, Deli & Dining

In Ashford, whilst it is a new development, Elwick Place was the site of the important regional cattle market and so the space and scale of the building reflects what was once a lively market hub, with farmers from across the County bringing their animals to town for sale.  It was not only a place to do business, but also a space to meet and forge relationships.

To highlight this history at Macknade Ashford, we have imagery representing the meat industry and the skills within it, as well as an agricultural finish, a nod to our own origins and the importance of Ashford as a market town.

Farm Stories & Fabric Swatches

In Tunbridge Wells we are re energizing what was a department store restaurant.  It’s comfy, warm and showcases some fantastic produce.  As is our way, the styling will set a course for the future with thoughtful nuances to both our story and the store’s past.

Reusing, repurposing, and recycling are an integral part of our story, so Macknade at Hoopers will have touches of the farm. Our industrial shelving is sturdy and solid, crafted in Kent by the talented Tribune team, using repurposed wood.  As a nod to the history of Hoopers, we’ve incorporated smashes of colour by reusing paper & fabric samples we discovered in the store, to create feature walls.

These beautiful swatches would have been sent to the store’s buyers, showcasing the latest patterns, textiles and styles. To me, not only do they have a warming sensuality, but they also illustrate the heritage of Hoopers and the building Macknade will now be part of.  I can imagine generations of buyers discussing the season trends and haggling over prices with designers to deliver the very best products for their clients!

Hunting out and showcasing the very best of Kent and artisan produce is, of course, what we do. As we look to the future and delivering the very best in food and drink to Hoopers and Tunbridge Wells, it is lovely to have these little nods to a building that has been at the heart of the community and its commerce for the best part of two centuries.

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