Do your bit for the city andÂ Shop Sheffield
These pages were launched to support the many independent shops that Sheffield has to offer '“Â and now The StarÂ want to celebrate them.
Today, I am proud to announce the Shop Sheffield Awards '“Â a ceremony which will promote the great work the makers behind these shops do and the valuable contribution they make to the city's shopping scene.
I am a keen supporter local business, and in the two years I have been running these pages I have had the pleasure of meetingÂ the faces behind just some of the of the city's independent shops, and there's many more I look forward to meeting in future.
One thing that has stood out to me in that time is how important business is to these retailers.
Many timesÂ the shop owners have told me how much they appreciate every customer who comes through their door and every sale they make; I've heard that each sale helps to pay their food bills, keep a roof over their head or support their family.
These are people who are passionate about the products they sell, and so oftenÂ make themselves. They spend hours designing,Â sourcing materials and putting the pieces togetherÂ to make sureÂ every item is perfect andÂ they can be proud to put their name to it.
Their enthusiasm is infectious. Many have faced difficulties in a changing shopping world, where you not only have to compete with big brands in physical storesÂ but also online, but they have tackled these challenges and are still adding much needed variety to our streets.
Their determination is admirable, and I am pleased that these pages haveÂ enabled me to help to promote them
One of the most rewarding things about completing these pagesÂ for meÂ is to receive a phone call or an e-mail from a shop owner some weeks after I have featured their store to tell me thatÂ they have had more customers through the door because of the article. I am happy to say that has happened on a number of occasions.
I often find that I am drawn to a product that a maker sells, (or two, or three, or four),Â and so I will leave a shop with an interview to write up and a shopping bag.
I justify these weekly purchases by telling myself it doesn't matter that my wardrobe is already bursting or I don't have any more wall space or desk space for pretty knick-knacks as long as I am supporting a local business.
With the launch of these awards, I am asking on you to make an effort to buy local. The best way we can support our fabulous independent shops is to shopÂ there.
There are 10 categories in the Shop Sheffield Awards. The full details of the categories, and details of how you can nominate your favourite independent shops,Â can be seen below.Â The awards ceremonyÂ will be held on Thursday, December 6, at the Virgin Money Lounge, Fargate in the city centre.
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At the Shop Sheffield Awards there are 10 categories which you can nominate stores for. These are as follows:
Arts and Craft
Clothing and Fashion
Vintage or Recycled
Shopping with a Heart, (think of those shops with a particular ethos to promote, whether it's an ethical message or awareness of a condition or issue in society).
Championing Indies, (think of the shops that sell products by lots of independent makers who may otherwise not have an outlet to sell in).
Treats, (think of all those lovely little homemade '˜extras'Â that you can treat a loved one '“Â or yourself '“Â to, particularlyÂ in the run-up to Christmas. It could be make-up, or something for the home such as a candle) .
How to nominate
Nominating your favourite independent Sheffield shops to be in with a chance of winning one of our awards couldn't be easier.
All you have to do is send an e-mail to me direct at Rochelle.Barrand@jpress.co.uk. Please put '˜Shop Sheffield Awards' as the subject, and remember to include the full shop or company name and address, along with which category you would like to nominate them in. Â You can nominate firms for as many categories as you like, and feel free to nominate more than one shop per category. Nominations must be received by midday on October 25. You can also tweet me your nominations at @Rochelle_Malise and use #ShopSheffield.