We’ve had Black Friday and Cyber Monday – but it’s now arguably the most important specialist shopping day of the year that’s looming on the horizon.
December 1 marks Small Business Saturday, an initiative that firmly puts the focus on supporting the independent businesses that are the lifeblood of the high street.
And Sunderland’s own Business Improvement District is using the international event as a way to highlight the fact that the city has a strong independent network of retailers.
Small Business Saturday is a US-born scheme, which launched in 2010, taking place in the UK for the first time three years later.
Although the day draws attention to independent retailers it also serves as a reminder that they should be supported not just on December 1, but all the year round.
With the high street facing so many challenges, independent shops play a more important role than ever before, according to Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID.
“To encourage people to shop in person rather than online town and cities now realise that they have to be able to offer something that is a point of difference,” she said.
“Having a strong independent business scene standing side by side with major high street names is now really important and we’re lucky in Sunderland to have some fantastic highly individual retailers.
“We hope that shoppers will give them their support not only on Small Business Saturday but throughout the year.”
From homeware to flowers, from designer clothes for adults to those for on-trend children – here’s a reminder of some of the city’s leading independent businesses.
ROB’S BUTCHERS, BLANDFORD STREET
A fixture in the city centre for more than 20 years, this butchers shop offers great quality and first class service.
HARRISON AND BROWN FURNITURE, HOLMESIDE
Five floors of fabulous furniture are packed into this city centre location which even offers a same day delivery service.
APHRODITE, VINE PLACE
Designer menswear galore in this stylish store which offers some of the world’s biggest fashion brands.
DESIGNER CHILDRENSWEAR, DERWENT STREET
From trendy men to fashion-conscious kids. Designer Childrenwear is a huge local success story, having recently relocated to a 4,000 sq ft store.
REYNOLDS OUTDOOR CENTRE, DERWENT STREET
One of the stalwarts of the city’s independent retail scene, Reynolds has had a presence in the city for more than 150 years selling kit for every conceivable kind of outdoor adventure.
KATIE’S GARDEN, HIGH STREET WEST
A little slice of magic in the heart of the city, that’s this unique crafting café where the young and the young-at-heart can enjoy delicious food and showcase their skills.
EMERSON’S PET STORE, FAWCETT STREET
Pet products and a range of animals are available in this long-standing retail outlet which has had a presence in the North East for more than 30 years.
AMORE BRIDES, GREEN TERRACE
This contemporary boutique is a one-stop-shop for all things bridal – think gowns, bridesmaid dresses and all the accessories you’ll need.
BARBER AND WHALE, BLANDFORD STREET
Flooring specialists Barber and Whale have diversified and now offer a range of homeware and furniture.
JACKY WHITES MARKET, THE BRIDGES
No round-up of independent businesses would be complete without Jacky Whites Market, which has had pride of place in the city since the 1920s. Around 70 stalls filled with everything from Meat to greeting cards and electrical goods.