Altrincham Market and Mackie Mayor founders awarded MBEs in the New Years honours

Nick Johnson and Jenny Thompson are now ‘Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’

By Ben Arnold | 3 January 2024

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The founders of Altrincham Market and Mackie Mayor have been awarded the MBE in the King’s New Year’s honours list.

Nick Johnson and Jenny Thompson are now ‘Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’, for their ‘services to the business and food sectors’.

The couple reinvented the market, which has existed on the same site since the 1200s, in 2014, refurbishing the old market hall and bringing in a host of independent hospitality traders.

It’s since had a transformative effect on the town centre, making it a hub for food and drink lovers across the region and establishing long-running businesses like Honest Crust, Pico’s, Great North Pie Co, Little Window, Mumma’s, Reserve Wines, Jack In The Box and Tender Cow.

It’s also been a concept that has been picked up and copied in towns and cities across the UK, ushering in the rebirth of the ‘foodhall’.

Nick Johnson Jenny Thompson Altrincham Market

They said: “It’s been one of the most exciting and rewarding periods in our lives and a delight to spend so much time amongst so many talented people. For that to be recognised by an honour each, is a privilege.”

They added ‘a big shout out… to all the people that have been an integral part of the adventure that has nurtured so many new businesses that have flourished, employed so many young, talented and creative people and all those customers and believers who have followed and supported the journey and been part of the story over the last 10 years’.

Following the huge success of Altrincham Market, Johnson and Thompson went on to open Mackie Mayor in the city centre, the former Smithfield Market, originally opened in the mid-1800s, but which had been unused since the 1990s.

It threw open its doors in 2017, bringing in the likes of Honest Crust and Tender Cow, but also making a name for the likes of New Wave Ramen and Chilli B.

Following that, they opened the Picturedrome in Macclesfield, and now have their own pub, the Nag’s Head in Haughton, near Tarporley in the Cheshire countryside.