By Laura Jane Stacey
Last week we celebrated the 3rd year of Small Business Saturday, a great initiative launched in 2013 to encourage people to shop local, and support small businesses in our communities.
The traders of Crystal Palace celebrated this years campaign by ‘buddying up’, with many businesses offering treats to customers who had spent money at other local shops...
One of the brilliant things about the triangle is the fantastic choice of local independents. Last year I wrote about some of the places you can go to buy Christmas presents locally, and Holly Smith is challenging everyone this year to buy 5 presents close to home.
I think we can go even further in supporting local. Plumbase finally have their festive window display so the season is truly upon us, the work Christmas party invites are rolling in, and where better to buy your party necessities than Upper Norwood? It has been really difficult to choose just a few places to mention so by no means use this as a definitive list, please take a walk around the triangle and do some of your own research too as there really are too many gems for me to mention in one blog.
Shinali McCusker’s parents opened up Sefgrove Chemist in May 1976 making it one of the oldest businesses in Crystal Palace. Shinali, who now manages the chemist, believes that the unique local businesses offering personal services and unique finds is what makes Crystal Palace special and says that local businesses need our support to keep our community together.
Like myself, Shinali thinks that a good night starts in the prep work and Sefgrove’s have everything you could need to get ready, from exfoliating scrubs, hair removal products, face packs, fake tan, false nails, nail varnishes to a large selection of make up and fragrances. They also stock party feet insoles and blister plasters to help you dance the night away.
And, as she reminds me, don’t forget to pick up some Alka Seltzer or Berroca 'to nurse our delicate bodies the day after'.
They even offer a travel clinic, so if you are heading off for some winter sun don’t forget to give them a visit to find out what vaccinations you may need topping up. Pop into Sefgrove at 3-5 Westow Hill and chat to one of the lovely ladies behind the counter who will help you find whatever you need.
Another business that hasn’t been in Crystal Palace for quite so long, but has certainly done its time is
D Solo on Church Road. Owner Dennis Brown has lived in the area for longer than he would care to mention and opened D Solo in December 1999, but it was the stunning refit finished 3 months ago that really grabbed my attention.
Dennis feels strongly about the importance of traders working together to support their neighbourhood as well as the other way around. He says that, “If you want to generate a community you’ve got to support a community.”
D Solo is a great place for gents who are looking for something to wear to their festive shindig. They stock a mixture of independent designers and brand labels and have a selection of smart and casual jackets, shirts, shoes and cosy winter jumpers. While the focus has been on men’s clothing in the past, Dennis is branching out and beginning to stock more ladies goods too so do peek in and check it out.
If you are looking for a bigger selection of girlsware, one of Crystal Palace’s newest businesses may be worth a look. Josephine’s opened on Westow Street this June. Owner Amanda Carey tells me that they had been waiting for the right spot for sometime and when the chance to move in next to favourtie pub, the Sparrowhawk, opened up they pounced on it!
Amanda and her team have run Lanta B in West Wickham and Red Boutique in Beckenham for a number of years, and they pride themselves on customer service. Stocking a wide selection to suit all occasions, Josephine’s is a great place to find a party dress, and while you are there why not grab a handbag and some jewelry to match!
Amanda believes, “The High Street keeps a community alive and thriving and we all benefit.” She hopes the triangle continues to encourage the small independents. “That is what will keep Crystal Palace the interesting eclectic town it is, somewhere we all love to be part of.”
There are loads more independent shops out there waiting to be explored, so have an adventure this week and let us know what you discover!