Find your Christmas presents locally on Small Business Saturday
We all know that one of the special things about Crystal Palace is its excellent selection of independent shops, restaurants and businesses. From Bookseller Crow to Bambino's, the Triangle has plenty to offer customers looking for something a bit different. Well, Saturday 6 December is the day to celebrate just that...
We celebrated Small Business Saturday last year by launching our Local and Fair Guide to Shopping and Eating in Crystal Palace. This lists the shops and eateries around the Triangle, and indicates which offer products that are locally designed, grown or produced, organic, free-range, sustainably sourced, recycled or fairly traded. We did this to promote local shopping because it makes our community more resilient in the face of economic uncertainty and reduces our impact on climate change. We also wanted to encourage people to shop and eat in a fairer and more sustainable way. Take a look at our online version - and let us know if we've missed anything!
Our launch was attended by a couple of well known faces, including Shadow Business Secretary and local MP, Chuka Umunna. This year he told us: “Building on the success of last year, Small Business Saturday 2014 will be even bigger and better, helping to provide a much needed boost to our high streets and making even more consumers aware of the fantastic products and services offered by small and independent businesses.”
With the festive season approaching, now is the time to hunt down your Christmas gifts locally so that you aren’t just giving your loved one something special, but also supporting local.
Emma Astles has lived in and around Crystal Palace all her life, and has owned and run toy shop Papagaio on Church Road for the last year and 9 months.
She believes that, “Supporting local businesses is not an act of charity - having a vibrant and successful selection of local business is great for all of us. Our fantastic mix of shops, bars and restaurants is what makes Crystal Palace such a unique and attractive place to live and they offer a personal service that is difficult to find elsewhere. The often repeated mantra of 'use them or lose them' is true and if we don't use them then we all miss out on unusual finds, carefully chosen products, helpful advice and friendly, personal service.”
Their wide range of toys includes beautiful gifts for newborns, right up to exciting toys and gadgets for older kids, and plenty of quirky stocking fillers.
Another independent shop on the Triangle, Do South, opened in March 2011 and sells interesting interior pieces for people with a discerning eye for design. Owner Freddie Oke says he loves the spirit of the community in Crystal Palace: “The Triangle is quite unique in that way, a special place to be, the highest point in South London with a view over the rest of the city. It was a bit of a secret for a while that has now been opened up to the rest of London by the arrival of the Overground, allowing more people to discover all it has to offer.”
Freddie hopes that people will continue to support local businesses in Palace, and pop into the shop to discover new things they haven’t seen before, rather than just going online to do their Christmas shopping. With a diverse selection of products from mugs and cushions, to one-off pieces of art and furniture, Do South is a great place to find unique gifts.
Liz Perridge, from Brave Girl Gifts on Westow Hill, has been trading since last September and says people have been incredibly kind and supportive since she opened.
Liz points out that, “Our brilliant Triangle and small businesses are enjoyed by locals as much as visitors,” and reminds us that we need to support local businesses “as they keep the Triangle a vibrant and bustling place full of great restaurants and shops.”
Selling a combination of quirky handmade items by innovative local makers as well as London and UK based small brands, Brave Girl has lots to offer at a range of prices.
As Michelle Ovens, director of the Small Business Saturday campaign says, “This isn’t some abstract economic concept. This is personal. It’s about getting out and supporting your friends, your neighbours and your family members and reinforcing your local community and economy.”
We have dozens of independent shops on the Triangle, as well as multiple other small businesses, so why not spend this Saturday away from the chain stores and support local. And please let us know what you discover!