Sheffield proved local really is best as thousands turned out to support the city’s Independents Day Market.
Retailers from across the city came together in stalls on Fargate on Saturday to showcase themselves as part of a national campaign to celebrate independent stores across the UK.
Dave Bromhead owns The Sheffield Space Centre on Wicker. The store specialises in comics, fantasy novels and sci-fi merchandise and has been running in the city for 35 years.
Mr Bromhead, aged 58, said: “The Independents Day market is a chance for small, locally-run businesses like ours to step forward and say ‘here we are, this is what we offer’.
“A lot of independent shops in Sheffield are getting a bit isolated from the city centre.
“That’s the reason we’re all here today, to show our faces and keep in touch with our customers, as well as introducing ourselves to potential new ones.
“Business has been great today.”
Paul Lincoln has owned Freshmans, on Carver Street, for more than 10 years, selling original vintage and retro clothing.
The 55-year-old said: “This gives us an opportunity to tell people where our shop is and that we can do for them that some of the bigger chain stores can’t.
“It’s important to support local retailers like us and keep your money local, working for the community you live in.
“We’ve had a great day and it’s been really nice to be out here chatting to local people.”
As part of the Independents Day campaign, Sheffielders were encouraged to visit the city centre at the weekend and buy at least one item from an independent retailer.
The event was led by Atkinsons of Sheffield, the city’s largest and oldest family-run retailer.
Graham Frith, store director, said independent stores are “what makes Sheffield different.”
He said: “The city has such a vibrant history of retail and it’s important residents visit and support their local stores in an effort to boost business in the city and celebrate the diversity on our high streets.
“By showing Sheffielders what is available to them right on their doorsteps, we hope to stop valuable independent stores being swallowed up by big chains.”
Damian Maxfield runs Worldwide Candy Company – formerly American Soul – on Chapel Walk.
The 26-year-old said: “There was nothing else like us in Sheffield when we decided to open, selling American, Japanese, Australian and European candy that you can’t find in many places.
“We started out with one tiny box of stock, which was snatched up, and now we get big 20ft containers delivered from all over the world.
“We even have a warehouse in Hillsborough now to hold all the stock, a 3,000 sq feet space that’s bigger than my house.
“I think Sheffield is a bit unique in that it’s not just about the same old shops you can find everywhere. There are plenty of independent and unique places tucked away in this city that bring people in – and hopefully keep them from simply shopping on the internet.”
Phil Bartram worked as a market trader in Sheffield for many years until he took over the management role at Stone The Crows, an independent furniture retailer on Cambridge Street which has been running in the city for 35 years.
He said: “The independent shops aren’t like anything else. If you just want the same footprint everywhere you go - like Meadowhall and Crystal Peaks - that’s absolutely fine, those places aren’t going anywhere. But if it’s something truly different, individual, unique that you want - that’s where your independents come in.
“We’ve done so well today and the public have been great. This market’s a fantastic idea and a great way of giving the local shops a chance to shine.”