Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has seen an uprising of new independent businesses over the last few years.
The county has welcomed the launch of everything from thriving city centre cafe bars and bistros to beauty salons, bridal shops, hairdressers and estate agents.
But like many non-essential retailers across the UK, small businesses across the region have been hit hard by the pandemic, forced to navigate various lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions in order to survive.
That is why BusinessLive – and parent company Reach plc – is backing Independents’ Day on July 4, to support and promote independent businesses across the UK, as part of its ongoing #BackForGood campaign.
Here we take a look at five independent retailers based in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire which are definitely worth a visit this weekend.
Becalmed / Grange Cottage Plants – Leek, Staffordshire Moorlands
Childhood friends Su Goodwin and Kate Haigh joined forces earlier this year to offer customers everything they need for home and garden.
Su runs horticulture and garden gifts business Grange Cottage Plants and Kate runs home and beauty products retailer Becalmed.
Su set-up a brand new horticultural emporium inside Kate’s shop, in Leek, offering everything from house plants and fresh flower arrangements to hanging baskets and bird feeders.
Becalmed sells a wide range of natural beauty products, gifts and homeware.
Blacks Menswear – Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford
Blacks Menswear – which was first established in 1825 – has been selling high quality menswear for almost 200 years.
It sells everything from suits, casual wear and traditional footwear and boasts high-end brands such as Mac Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and Bugatti.
During lockdown the company launched an e-commerce store as part of a national campaign to save local high streets.
And now its two stores – in Pepper Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Mill Street, Stafford – are back open.
Peak Run & Ride – Trentham Estate
Outdoor adventure specialist Peak tapped into the retail market for the first time last year when it opened a shop at the Trentham Estate.
Peak Run & Ride sells bikes, e-bikes, sportswear and accessories for cycling and running enthusiasts and boasts brands including Corratec, Endura and Asics.
The store also offers an in-house bike repair and fitting service to make sure cyclists are sitting comfortably and a free gait analysis service for runners who want to improve their performance.
Potteries Potions – Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
Husband and wife duo Kay and Lee Burgess launched their Harry Potter-themed shop in October 2020.
Potteries Potions is jam-packed with merchandise from the world-famous series and sells everything from wands and robes to chocolate and Butterbeer as well as its own branded merchandise including mugs.
It’s been a huge hit with shoppers since it opened on The Strand, in Longton – with some customers even travelling from outside of the city for a visit.
Scrumbles Cake Shop – Leek, Staffordshire Moorlands
Friends Sarah Barber and Beth Charles started Scrumbles in 2017 when they were working together at an insurance company.
The pair decided to open a cake shop after being made redundant in 2019 and have taken the business to new heights during lockdown with their ever-growing range of brownies and baked goods.
Scrumbles has even been endorsed by TV personality Stacey Solomon who featured it in the small business shout-out section of her debut cleaning book Tap to Tidy.