A Darlington Market food stall has announced that it will be closing later this month after three years at the venue - blaming the rising rent costs involved with running a business. 

Spud Gun Loaded Fries set up its business in the market in 2021 as part of a fresh rebrand of the space, which saw six food stalls set up inside the covered market in the town. 

However, its owner, Christian Garcia-Miralles has now announced that the food business will be closing on March 31 - highlighting that rent costs have made it impossible to stay open.

The Northern Echo: Spud Gun Loaded Fries at Darlington MarketSpud Gun Loaded Fries at Darlington Market (Image: SPUD GUN)

Despite not wanting to leave Darlington Market, the business owner says that he is not making any money currently, due to having to pay rent costs, staff and other overheads. 

Following the announcement from Spud Gun Loaded Fries, it will be the last of the six initial traders that opened in August 2021 that have closed their doors. 

Here's a video of Rishi Sunak at Spud Gun Loaded Fries:

While Mr Garcia-Miralles has said that Spud Gun has enjoyed success over its time in the market, including serving both Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt on treasury visits to Darlington, the rent price structure has left the business with "little option" but to close.

The business owner has insisted that he didn't want to move from Darlington and has spoken to the Market Asset Management (MAM), who runs Darlington Market but hasn't been able to come to any solution.

The Northern Echo: Christian Garcia-MirallesChristian Garcia-Miralles (Image: SPUD GUN)

He said: "The rent has consistently stayed the same - but it's the same as some markets down in London - and it's not sustainable.

"Over the time we've been there - we've been the busiest by a mile but I currently work for nothing and I'm now at a dead end.

The Northern Echo: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt at the stallChancellor Jeremy Hunt at the stall (Image: SPUD GUN)

"We’ve had a good run in Darlington and built up a good following and reputation over the years which we are super proud of but despite speaking and meeting with managers at MAM and from Darlington Borough Council over my concerns, the rent model used by MAM (Market Asset Management) is simply too high to sustain and we’re going to be leaving the market at the end of this month. 

The Northern Echo: Loaded fries at the Darlington MarketLoaded fries at the Darlington Market (Image: SPUD GUN)

"We've seen a lot of businesses come and go at the market - some with its fourth occupant in food stalls since we opened in 2021."

Now that its closure has been announced, Spud Gun Loaded Fries has said that it will be focusing on serving its food at events but hasn't ruled out moving to another food hall. 

And for fans of the business, it will be making returns to Darlington in the future for food-related and entertainment events.

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Mr Garcia-Miralles has also highlighted that he holds no hard feelings towards the Market Asset Management in light of the closure.

He added: "We didn't want to leave Darlington - but we’ll focus our efforts from then on the busy festivals and events where Spud Gun first cut its teeth.

"We’re not leaving on bad terms or anything, I’d love to have stayed with a base in Darlington Market but with MAM unable to move on the unsustainable rental structure and the council unable to help it just wasn’t possible sadly.

"We still wish all of the other businesses in the market the very best and hope Darlington Market has a long prosperous future ahead to reflect its long history."

In response to Spud Gun closing,  Market Asset Management has wished the business well - but has set out its new plans for Darlington Market in the future. 

A spokesperson for Market Asset Management, the operator of Darlington Market, said: “We’re very proud of our tenant line-up here at Darlington Market, which is constantly evolving as the venue continues to grow in popularity.

"As we approach the completion of Phase 3 of the redevelopment, interest in becoming a tenant has never been stronger, and we now have a brilliant variety of food and beverage brands providing a wide range of choices for our customers. 

“Spud Gun Loaded Fries has been a great addition to the Market over recent years, and we wish them every success in the future."

The spokesperson added: "It is always the nature of food retail that a tenant line-up will change over time. This helps ensure a fresh look and feel to our offer, as well as opening up more opportunities for other entrepreneurs.

"We have a high demand from tenants waiting to get into the Street Food Hall, which means that we always remain at 100 per cent occupancy. We also have a range of new tenants waiting in the wings as part of The Collective – a project we’re all excited about.”