The Springs opened in east Leeds in autumn 2018 and boasts renowned high street brands, an ODEON Luxe cinema, a range of restaurants and bars, and independent businesses.
Part of the wider 275-acre mixed-use development, Thorpe Park, the site’s location just off the M1 means it attracts customers from across West Yorkshire and beyond - as far away as Scotland.
The Springs has welcomed a number of new openings this year and there’s more on the way. Betty Loves Candles is one of the development’s independent businesses, after owner Tania Howe relocated her shop from Wakefield.
The boutique sells gifts and candles, mostly from independent stockists, along with affordable greeting cards and wrapping paper.
Tania told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s 20 minutes door-to-door from where I live in Wakefield. There’s free parking and people can get here from the other side of Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield, Bradford, Durham.
“People use the Springs as a stop-off point, particularly for families with children at universities up and down the country. We even get regular customers from Scotland.
“Some people end up spending six hours here and they don’t know how they’ve done it!
“It’s the best retail park in Leeds, without a shadow of a doubt. People love it. It feels like you’re on a high street - all the shop owners say good morning, we all know each other, advertise for each other and help each other out.”
As well as high street giants such as Next, Dunelm and M&S Food, there’s also leisure brands such as Puttstars mini golf and the flagship Leeds Odeon cinema.
Other businesses include COOK, which sells gourmet ready meals, cakes and puddings, Elan Laser Clinics, which offers laser hair removal and skin treatments, and Piccolo by Piccolino, one of the first Piccolo sites in the country.
The restaurant’s general manager Francesco Villari said: “It’s a lovely place to visit, you’ve got pretty much everything here - there’s a free car park and more shops are coming up next year.
“We see a wide range of customers from everywhere and it’s a great atmosphere.”
There has been a trend in businesses choosing The Springs to try out new concepts and ideas, and Tania said she’s seen customer behaviours change over the last year –particularly since the spring.
She said: “Customers have changed how they’re shopping, that’s the biggest thing. When I arrived here they were just doing click and collect, grabbing their order and getting back in their car.
“I’ve noticed that since March, people are coming out to shop without being on a mission. They’re browsing and smelling the coffee. Most of them are sick to death of online shopping - things go wrong, it can be soulless, it’s not as enjoyable and it can actually take longer.”
“The Springs is a destination point and you need to come and see it,” Tania added. “You won’t be disappointed.”