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Do your bit for the city and Shop Sheffield

The launch of The Star's independent shopping awards at the Virgin Lounge on Fargate in Sheffield. Pictured are Star reporter Rochelle Barrand and Holly Garforth from the Virgin Lounge.
The launch of The Star's independent shopping awards at the Virgin Lounge on Fargate in Sheffield. Pictured are Star reporter Rochelle Barrand and Holly Garforth from the Virgin Lounge.

These pages were launched to support the many independent shops that Sheffield has to offer – and now The Star want to celebrate them.

Today, I am proud to announce the Shop Sheffield Awards – 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.

The launch of The Star's independent shopping awards at the Virgin Lounge on Fargate in Sheffield. Pictured are Star reporter Rochelle Barrand and Holly Garforth, Tanya Dearden and Allan Savage from the Virgin Lounge.

The launch of The Star's independent shopping awards at the Virgin Lounge on Fargate in Sheffield. Pictured are Star reporter Rochelle Barrand and Holly Garforth, Tanya Dearden and Allan Savage from the Virgin Lounge.

I am a keen supporter local business, and in the two years I have been running these pages I have had the pleasure of meeting 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 times 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 often make themselves. They spend hours designing, sourcing materials and putting the pieces together to make sure every item is perfect and 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 stores 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 have enabled me to help to promote them

One of the most rewarding things about completing these pages for me 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 that 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), 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 shop 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, can be seen below. The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 6, at the Virgin Money Lounge, Fargate in the city centre.

The Categories 

At the Shop Sheffield Awards there are 10 categories which you can nominate stores for. These are as follows:

Food

Drink

Jewellery

Arts and Craft

Clothing and Fashion

Vintage or Recycled

Market Trader

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’ that you can treat a loved one – or yourself – to, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. It could be make-up, or something for the home such as a candle)
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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.Brrand@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.  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.