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We are very lucky here in Stockport to have a growing collection of small independent businesses.

If, like me, you’re hoping for a less stressful Christmas and you’d like your hard-earned cash to go towards supporting independent businesses run by passionate, top-notch humans, here are my recommendations for doing your Christmas shopping around Stockport Old Town.

Plant Shop

Since I wrote my last Christmas gift guide in 2017, Plant Shop has gone from strength to strength. Selling a large array of house plants, gifts and eco-refills, the shop also operates as an events space with a pop-up bar and DJ nights.

This year, owner Emma is promoting a more eco-conscious Christmas by selling Norfolk Island Alpine trees, a sustainable all year round alternative to the throwaway Christmas tree as well as eco-refill gift sets.

8 Mealhouse Brow, Stockport SK1 1JP
@plantshopmanchester

Rare Mags

Rare Mags is a fantastic magazine and book shop selling an impressive range of publications about pretty much anything you can think of (my personal favourites are Courier and Om Nom). It’s essentially the shop I never knew I needed until it opened.

Owners Holly and Martin are always on hand to give recommendations and as proud Stopfordians this Christmas they are also selling these very cool T-shirts designed by Taxi Cab Industries.

At the time of writing the shop itself features in this month’s issue of menswear publication Proper Mag which you can find in-store (mag-ception?).

Rare Mags also offers curated magazine subscriptions. Tell them your interests (or those of someone for whom you’re buying a gift) and they’ll pick you a magazine each month.

17 Lower Hillgate, Stockport SK1 1AQ
@rare_mags

Tandem Coffee House

Not only is Tandem Coffee House a top place for lunch and probably the best place to have a meeting in Stockport, it’s also a great place to spot a Christmas gift.

Because you can’t really gift a Marmite toastie (my favourite thing to order here), a great Christmas present option is the refillable loose leaf teas stocked at Tandem.

Owner Nicola will also be selling a range of handmade Christmas decorations and re-usable cups as well as flexing her formidable baking muscles with her Christmas pudding Rocky Road cakes!

47 Lower Hillgate, Stockport SK1 1JQ
@tandem_coffee

Wine Boy

Located in Stockport’s historic market hall, Wine Boy sells a great range of bottled organic and natural wines.

Rumour has it you can also bag yourself a glass of mulled wine over the festive period!

2A Market Pl, Stockport SK1 1ES
@wineboyuk

BeerStork

If craft beers are more your thing, check out BeerStork, the online beer delivery service selling a fantastic catalog of beers and ales from around the UK and beyond (they also offer free delivery if you’re in Stockport).

They are also the proud owners of one of the finest websites the world has ever seen.

@beerstorkuk

The Norah Store

Having opened on the Underbanks earlier this year, The Norah Store sells carefully curated vintage and sustainable clothing. Owner Elizabeth is encouraging shoppers to buy second hand in order to reduce the amount of waste created by the fashion industry.

Last year, consumers in the UK were responsible for 300,000 tonnes of textiles to be burned or sent to landfill, according to The Guardian. The circular economy is the perfect antidote to the damage caused by fast fashion.

The Norah Store will also host a print fair on Saturday 30th November selling artwork from local artists, designers and makers.

5 Little Underbank, Stockport SK1 1LA
@thenorahstore

Wardrobe Wellbeing

Whilst on the subject of sustainable fashion, be sure to check out Wardrobe Wellbeing.

Camilla is an eco stylist who works 1-2-1 with people to understand their own style and create brand new looks using the clothes and accessories they already own.

Camilla’s online shop also offers beautiful pieces for sale as well as for hire – perfect for the upcoming party season!

@wardrobe_wellbeing_

Marketplace Studios

Photo by Molly Newport

An initiative from Manchester Metropolitan University, Marketplace Studios offers an eclectic mix of cards, artwork, pottery and handmade jewellery from Manchester School of Art graduates including Molly Newport and Maisy Summer.

19 Market Pl, Stockport SK1 1EU
@marketplacestudios

Agapanthus Interiors

If you are looking for a sustainable way to decorate your home, interior designers and antiques dealers Agapanthus are selling refurbished and restored Christmas decorations including these vintage Turkish Hand Painted Wooden Santas.

This is in addition to their regular offerings of beautiful lights and chandeliers, frames, vases and other gorgeous delights.

77 Wellington St, Stockport SK1 1FE
@agapanthusinteriors

Support Your Independents

Whilst I’ve highlighted the businesses above, there are loads more great shops, including the likes of 1950’s fashion from Cherry Girl’s Wardrobe and The Warren gift shop.

Stockport Old Town also has no fewer than three dedicated record shops (Double 4 Records, SK1 Records and All Night Flight) and no shortage of vintage gifts within 20th Century Stores.

Head into town and have a look for yourself. A great time to do this is this coming Saturday, November 23rd, when the independent shops of the Underbank will be having a Christmas Lights Switch On. There will be festive sociable shopping from midday, with singing around the Christmas tree led by Stockport Soul Sounds choir from 6pm.

Artwork by Daren Newman

And the week after, on Saturday November 30th, it’s the nationwide Small Business Saturday – another great reason to embrace local shopping and supporting the independents in your area.

Remember you don’t only have to spend money with local businesses either. Many small businesses rely on us all to spread the word about what they offer (I certainly do!) – so think indie when you are speaking to others about Christmas shopping and recommend something from a shop you love. Use social media for good and give those shops you love all the likes, comments and shares you can!

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