In 1882, at the age of 14, a local farmer's son, William Barker, started his apprenticeship with John Oxendale, who had a small draper's shop in Northallerton.
As William Barker's Career progressed, the shop became known as Oxendale and Barker, and eventually Barkers. Today Barkers comprises the High Street Department Store, a 20,000 sq ft Distribution Centre, and the edge of town Home Furnishing Store. Both Retail stores have 40,000 of sales area and in total over 250 local people are employed.
The Home Furnishing Store, which is one of the largest in the North of England, was purpose built on the edge of town in 1994. It houses a wide choice of high quality upholstery, cabinet furniture, beds, bed linen, flooring, lighting, soft furnishings, pictures and mirrors, as well as the 94 seat first floor Tree View Café serving light meals, and fresh teas and coffees throughout the day. The store has its own free car park with a capacity of 100 spaces, is completely accessible for the disabled, and has a fleet of vehicles offering a free delivery service within 40 miles of Northallerton.
The Department Store, situated in the centre of the High Street also offers an incredible range of merchandise, including some of the world's leading brands of fashion, lingerie, menswear, shoes, handbags, cosmetics, cards, luggage, gifts and homewares. On the first floor is a counter service 200 seat restaurant with views over the Applegarth Park and an excellent menu specialising in home cooking. The restaurant is spacious, ideal for families, and easily accessible for the disabled.
An exciting new addition to Barkers High Street Store is the 1882 Café and Bistro. The ground floor Café is counter service and specialises in fresh coffees, cakes, paninis, sandwiches, and has a take away service, while the first floor Bistro is waiter / waitress service and has three seating areas, the library, conservatory, and the sewing room. The menu changes with the seasons and offers a wide range of freshly prepared dishes; most ingredients are from local farms and suppliers.