In a surprising development, Keelham Farm Shop, one of Yorkshire's most famous food halls, has announced its permanent closure.
The shop, located on the A65 near Skipton, has been a staple for local and visiting food enthusiasts but will cease trading from today, December 28, unless a new buyer is found.
Staff members have been informing customers of the closure, and all products have been removed from the company’s online store. A statement from a manager on the company’s social media accounts cited financial difficulties as the reason for the closure. The statement also expressed hope for a new buyer to take over and potentially re-employ many of the staff, though acknowledging that such transitions do not happen overnight.
Opened in 2015 by siblings James and Victoria Robertshaw, the Skipton branch of Keelham Farm Shop quickly grew to become the country's largest farm shop, attracting half a million visitors annually.
The Robertshaws, who also operated the original Keelham brand at their family farm in Thornton, near Bradford, have since resigned as directors, and the Skipton site was sold to a group of investors in 2020. The Thornton shop, now rebranded as Robertshaw’s, is no longer connected to the Skipton branch.
Currently under the control of investment fund Growth Partner LLP, managed by Gerard Downes, Keelham Farm Shop had initially planned to expand its brand with more food halls. However, these plans did not materialise. In recent weeks, customers had reported issues such as broken lifts and heating, and difficulties in issuing gift vouchers.
Local residents have commented on the closure, noting that since the takeover, prices at the shop had become unaffordable for many in the area. The shop's other directors include Alastair and Josephine Wellock, a business couple from the Dales, and James Worrall, who is also a director of two well-known outdoor clothing brands.
The closure of Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton marks the end of an era for a beloved local business that had become a symbol of Yorkshire's rich culinary heritage. The community now waits to see if a new buyer will step forward to continue the legacy of this iconic food hall.