Spark:York announce opening date

Spark:York, the widely anticipated shipping container community development, will open to the public on Friday May 4th 2018 at 4pm.

The innovative project is the first of it's kind in the North of England, and has transformed the former Reynard’s Garage site on Piccadilly into a unique affordable space for over 20 small local businesses. Alongside a vibrant food and drink offering are independent retailers, a business hub, and a performance space sponsored by the University of York St John.

Spark:York Director Tom McKenzie says: “Everyone at Spark is hugely excited to announce the launch of the project after what has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes for close to two years. The scheme has undoubtedly divided opinion at times, but we feel that creating a home for over 20 small, independent businesses in York will add significant value to the independent business community. All of our traders have stuck by us through some delays to the build, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for keeping faith in the project. It’s plain to see what a fantastic city we live in, with The Sunday Times recognising York as the best to live in the UK, so we want to build on that reputation and add value where we can. We look to the future with positivity, and we cannot wait to welcome visitors to the site over the coming months.”

Local residents will be among the first to see the site, with tours planned for the last week in April. Spark:York Director Sam Leach said, “As a community interest company, the local residents and social impact has always been at the forefront of our minds. We have engaged with local residents and businesses throughout the process, and will continue to do so. We see this is a real chance to redefine how York is viewed by both residents and visitors to the city. We want to prove that communities and business can be fundamentally aligned to achieve growth, increase opportunities, and bring people together. Tom and I are life-long York residents, so we understand and respect York’s rich cultural heritage, and hope Spark:York will demonstrate how our city can also benefit from innovation.”

The site will be accessible to all and has been set up with strong social and community objectives at its heart, providing space and support for local community groups.

Vaughan Lewis from York start-up wine-on-tap business, Liquid Liberation, says: “Our business is all about doing things differently and taking inspiration from what we’ve seen work so well overseas and in the UK. Being able to bring a fresh way of enjoying quality produce to our home city via this innovative project is incredibly exciting and we don’t believe we could get a better start in the city than Spark:York”

A launch party will showcase Spark:York on Thursday 3rd May. Specially invited guests will be treated to a first view of the site, tasters from the food outlets, excellent beer brewed on site, cocktails, wine, live music and immersive theatre. This event will be the perfect introduction to what Spark is all about: breathing life into the disused space on Piccadilly and bringing a community of diverse people together for a memorable shared experience.

Spark:York is a Community Interest Company, and all profits will be reinvested into activity that benefits the York community.


Sam Leach