As a Photographer ….. Who is both a local to Sheffield and independent …. I very much suppose that makes me a local independent trader. As a photographer however I am in one of those trades where people tend to go for local anyway.
Of course there are many good reasons why people should shop local for more services (I am familiar with the main ones but I performed a brief Google in the nature of thorough research).
Historically the Antiques Quarter was a major Northern hub for the antiques trade. You can still source antiques in the quarter along with the vintage and retro malarkey but times changes and things develop. Although antiques still is the beating heart of the quarter it now boasts a thrilling selection of independents. The Quarter is a welcome break from the chain shops that dominate most city centres.
Despite the proliferation of High Street stores there has been a growing and powerful resurgence in shopping more local. The two most common given reasons for this are that it is the ethical choice against larger corporations and that it is spending money directly back into the community.
Personally believe there is a far more convincing reason to shop local.
I am a fan of a certain well known coffee chain … Or perhaps I should say that I am more a fan of that it opens at 7am when I most like to start my admin work and this is convenient for me. If I coffee later during the day I am far more likely to coffee at an independent as long as it has wifi. I love independents because of their unique vibe, but also because the people running them are normally present and have a distinct mission statement. They have specifically chosen this business because it is something they love to do.
This means that everything from the design and ambience has been focused around their own vision. That the customers who come there specifically come for the unique vibe.
They both are purveyors of beer but have their own take and direction as to how they provide it. They are both run by people with a huge amount of passion for their own chosen business but vary in how they deliver their vision. Both have exceptional knowledge of their field and both will give an exceptionally warm welcome …. But both different.
One could order some wonderful food in Forge Bakehouse and feel you are getting something delicious that you would not get elsewhere. You could drop into Jamesons Tea Rooms and get a traditional experience which has been specifically created by its owners for its customers.
In other words you are not sitting in a room designed by a marketing team looking at the most popular demographics for what people want.
Walk into RooM Interiors for getting your home a makeover and you are not going to be served a recipe of colours and fabrics all sourced from their warehouse stocks …. You are getting a unique flavoured mix.
I could go on …. I frequently do ….. The point I am hammering home with my over use of uniqueness is that shopping, eating and drinking local is not just an ethical choice or a financial choice or even the choice to be different, it is the best choice for quality. If you went for a day trip somewhere you would be far less likely to eat at some chain restaurant … So why do we do it when we are in our home city?
So quality, uniqueness, ethical and financially reassuring.
There is nothing wrong in using a High Street chain to shop, but there is far more right in going Independent and the Antiques Quarter is a lovely place to dip a toe in such a pond...... Metaphorically speaking ....