Traders left in the lurch at the shock closure of Skipton’s Handpicked Hall emporium have negotiated a lifeline to continue in business.

They got the bombshell news that Anthony Blackburn, who had set up the business in the old Sunwin House building, was pulling out last Wednesday.

It came six weeks after the four businesses – babywear outlet Bumble Babies, Italian fashion Riviera Boutique, Scott’s Game and Helene’s Cake and Bake – had moved into the former Co-op travel agency.

The new enterprise, Synergy-Skipton, is now inviting other potential traders to take up available space.

Vicky Sharp, who runs Bumble Babies with her husband, Andrew, said: “We got the news entirely out of the blue last Wednesday, leaving us in the lurch. It was devastating. We were thinking is this the end?

“What happened was awful, but we have come through it, rallied and are optimistic and looking forward to the future.”

“Luckily, the landlord has been fantastic,” said Andrew. “He wants us to continue trading and we’ve been able to sign the licence to carry on.”

“We want everyone to know that we’re still here and trading,” said Mohammed Saghir, who runs Riviera Boutique and has had a stall on Skipton market for 30 years.

Anyone interested in taking up some space or renting shelving, should contact Mr Sharp on 07531 876304.

The unit, which is owned by Chapel Allerton Investments, also includes a gallery where local artists can hang their work.

Mr Blackburn set up Handpicked Hall in the former home department of Sunwin House in March 2013, but decided, in December, to move it to the former travel agency in a bid to increase footfall.

He said this week that the enterprise was now being run as an independent collective.

“I wish them every success as they have a great business in a great location,” he said.