As a society we are currently going through a ‘high street crisis’, in that, as we walk through our towns and cities, we see many empty shops and a small number of local independent businesses compared to the huge corporations rivalling the companies that make our city unique to elsewhere.
As someone who grew up in a rural town, my family was always the kind to visit the butchers, the local fruit and veg shop and the bakery once or twice every weeks. If anything, it saddens me more to see the decline in local business, which is why I feel it is important to talk about why shopping local is necessary for the community. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it is now that we should be fighting for these businesses more than ever.
So what can you do to help?
The simplest step that you can take to help improve our high streets is to shop local and support the family businesses, which are still growing thanks to our support. It may seem like the most simplest of steps but even buying the smallest item from a local shop, cafe or cinema can mean someone's wage, the next shipment of coffee or your entertainment.
Reasons to shop local:
By shopping local we are creating an identity for new and upcoming companies in our local areas, and on social media and it may just mean they could eventually become more nationwide, for example The Original Pasty House who have gone from having one store to two locally - Tavistock and Plymouth.
Online shopping is great, especially with the world we live in at the moment. Of course it can feel safer and seem more convenient to have something delivered to your door instead of running into town, however it's good to know that local companies do deliver now which is great for us and the sellers.
Individuality. We at Plymouth College of Art encourage individuality and as artists we all take pride in this ethos, so why not do the same for our local high streets? We are all too used to seeing chains and big brands. often a plethora of shops and restaurants that are designed to look exactly the same often across the world. With independent shops that can all change. Giving each place its own identity and individuality means a more colourful and unique high street.
Creating local jobs in Plymouth. Having our favourite family ran coffee shop or our small local art suppliers all allow for the job market to grow and boost the local economy.
Local businesses we love and we think you’ll love too:
Thankfully Plymouth has so many local businesses, too many to list them all, but I've picked a handful of our favourites to share with you all.
Plymouth Market is sprawling with independent retailers, restaurants and other specialists. Next time you’re there why not visit Drab To Fab at Stall 10? Drab To Fab is where you will find up-cycled furniture, as well as plenty of sustainable and unique gift ideas.
If you’re an avid collector of movies or music, or you can't find a movie on Netflix then head over to Micheal’s Movies and Music at Stall 136 for a huge array of physical media.
If your sweet tooth is teasing why not try Stall 114? Otherwise known as Sunny Sweets - you’ll no doubt find something to keep you on your toes.
Plymouth Market has so many things to see and I’m sad I cant list every single one of them but head over to www.visitplymouth.co.uk/shopping/plymouth-market to see what's on offer.
Who doesn't love a good house plant? That's why i'm suggesting you check out the brilliant people over at Nook Houseplants. Some of you might've got a taste of Nook's amazing selection of plants at their Freshers stall in the SU, but there are many more to be found if not. The team has some amazing plants that are perfect for bringing a little life into your space. You can find more at www.nookhouseplants.com and look out on their social media for where they'll be popping up next.
Power Plant Cafe
The 100% Vegan Cafe & Shop that is Power Plant Cafe! This amazing independent cafe is located at 59 Cornwall Street and is an excellent place to sit down for lunch, a morning coffee or a drink to go! They offer great organic tea and coffee, sandwiches and handmade cakes. Love this one!
Plymouth Arts Cinema
Independent cinema is something we take for granted in an age of streaming services, and with the decline of cinema sadly occurring in recent times. Now is the best time to pay a visit and enjoy and support: Independent film, Foreign film and some of the year's biggest blockbusters inside the Tavistock Place campus at Plymouth College of Art. Plymouth College of Art students and staff can also grab a discounted ticket to any showing for just £4 when you bring your PCA ID card on visiting. To see what movies are currently on show head over to www.plymouthartscentre.org for more information.
The Art Side
Plymouth's specialist art provider for over 40 years. The Artside are a small team that support the art community and even other businesses with their photocopying and colour printing services. You can grab a wide range of art materials, equipment and many other essential items. Including brands such as: Pink Pigs, Daler Rowney, Winsor and Newton and materials such as Acrylic Paint, Airbrush Supplies, Cards and Paper, Posca Pens, Oil Paint and so much more. The Artside also offers a 20% student discount which is available everyday of the week. Visit the www.theartside.co.uk for enquiries, or why not pop into the store at 42 Mayflower St, to see what they have available.
If you’re a photographer or someone who loves classic camera and film equipment I recommend you head down to 23 New St, a hidden gem tucked away just behind the Barbican and go visit Soperfect Images. Here you can find a variety of classic cameras and accessories. You can also check out their website www.soperfectimages.co.uk for more information.
Plymouth Fancy Dress
With Halloween just round the corner it seemed highly appropriate to talk about where you can all find costumes for this October. Plymouth fancy dress is located in Unit C at the Armada Shopping Centre. With its expansive shop floor and with the retailer holding the largest stock for fancy dresses in the south west, it's almost certain you will find the perfect costume this Halloween. The store is also a great place for a wide variety of balloons and flags as well as the costumes and accessories. They can also be found online at www.fancydressfast.com
Every year in Plymouth we are opening our city to new students, which means new future residents. We want to make it clear that we are open to supporting our local shops and with Plymouth County Council's newest campaign, 'Geddon Plymouth - Shop Local', the time has never been better to help out your cities local and independent businesses.
Student Union Ambassador