Jenny shares her love for independent stores and the endless benefits of shopping small.
Written by Jenny Garcia
Independents are having a moment, a revival, and are once again injecting new life into flailing high streets, decimated by the demise of huge household names. This rejuvenation is creating a more exciting, diverse and interesting retail landscape, updating the previously repetitive and rather one dimensional scene.
Indies, as they’re fondly known among industry insiders, are of course nothing new. Our high streets were born out of family run independent shops and market places, that now form a huge part of our cultural and social history.
Whilst many successful corporate giants have nudged their way in over the decades, some home grown, others migrating from overseas, the UK is still home to over 200k independent retailers, who’s benefits are multi faceted.
Indies, often owned and run by local people, form a part of the community, providing jobs, careers and opportunity. Their presence is often infectious, spreading through our high streets luring more unique businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, craft and lifestyle shops, book shops, grocers, butchers, bakeries and diy stores, feeding into the greater good of the local areas, villages, towns and cities, attracting visitors, tourists and of course their fellow neighbours.
Engaging environments, that provide a physical space for smaller brands to showcase their collections and wares, creating a hub of discovery for customers who can explore new and emerging brands they may otherwise never uncover, in addition to trusted firm favourites.
These curated, thoughtful spaces have a feeling of intimacy that express imaginative, creative and individual aesthetics: minimal, neutral and relaxed; bold, vivid and loud; eclectic, random and exciting. Each one it’s own world of discovery that has been personally and lovingly put together by the owners and their teams.
Small by nature, indies are often more agile, and thus ever evolving, experimental and inspirational. Many, are therefore more sustainable as a consequence, with smaller supply chains, homespun products, buying direct from source, supporting local artisans and small communities from far flung corners of the globe, keeping waning traditions alive.
So to answer the original question, what is it about independents? EVERYTHING.
Maze: proud to be an independent, supporting small brands and businesses, in our local communities of Bristol and Bath, for 37 years.