If you’re planning on using more local shops this year, here’s a guide to some of the leading independent businesses to try, as well as some of the great food, drink and products made right here on home soil, from gin stocked in Harvey Nichols to a farm shop selling some of the best pies around.
5. Vaux brewery, Roker
The much-loved Vaux brand was bought and brought back by four friends from Sunderland. Since its rebirth in 2019, the new Vaux firm has produced some cracking brews which are available from its online shop or at a range of bottle shops such as Blues in Whitburn, Blacks Corner deli in East Boldon and Port Bierhaus, as well as on draught at pubs such as the Engine Room. Last year it opened its own taproom in Roker Retail Park and there's also plans for a craft ale cafe on the seafront.
Photo: JPI Media
6. Pink Slices, all over the city
No guide to Sunderland food would be complete without the humble pink slice, which you'll struggle to find outside of the city. They're sold at cafes and corner shops across Wearside and many are made in house. This version is from Fausto Coffee.
Photo: JPI Media
7. Sunshine Cooperative, High Street West
A co-op which specialises in high quality food and drinks has set up shop in a historic city centre building as part of a major regeneration project. The Sunshine Co-operative has already built up a following after three years delivering boxes of sustainably-grown goods and other locally-sourced produce. Now, for the first time, they have a dedicated shop where people can browse the goods on sale after moving from the Eagle Building in the East End to the bottom of High Street West, as part of the major regeneration of the 170-175 block of buildings. While the delivery box service continues, made up in the new stock room, the shop means people can pick up individual goods from a whole range of producers including Funk Kombucha, Northumbrian Pantry, Calders Kitchen, Suma wholefoods, Catchi’s Kimchi, 40 Kola, Screaming Chimp, as well as eco-friendly beauty products and many more
Photo: Tim Richardson
8. Port Independent, St Thomas Street, city centre
As well as providing a retail platform for a host of emerging designers, Port Independent in St Thomas Street stocks a great range of accessories, as well as some cracking craft beers, available on draught, as well as in the Port Bierhaus bottle shop. It also houses CoffeeHaus coffee shop.
Photo: Stu Norton