Small Business Saturday 2014

small business saturday

It’s Small Business Saturday: please support small businesses wherever you find them.  There are hundreds of small businesses in Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme.  Speaking as the owner of a small business, I know that, from candle makers to plumbers, none of these small businesses would exist without customers, including my own tuition centre.  

Using a small business is not an act of charity. It is quite wrong to assume that big chains are cheaper than small, independent traders.  Behind the marketing jargon, the deals offered by big corporate chains often represent a more expensive proposition than the more straightforward pricing of a smaller concern.  Why do we assume that big chains are cheaper?  Because they spend massive amounts of marketing money telling us their prices are fantastically low; small independent businesses can’t and don’t.  

As well as fairer prices, there is often more expertise in a small business; small businesses thrive on the passion of their owners and making money is not their main focus.  Personally, I don’t see education as a product I sell; I see it as a way to change young people’s lives forever.  Look at Mrs M, of Mrs M Vintage on Flixton Road: she’s not a corporate suit, working on her next ad campaign.  She just loves vintage and sells it because she wants to spread vintage joy.  How about Card World on Crofts Bank Road?  They have the biggest range of cards in Urmston and beyond – adoption cards, confirmation cards, sorry-I-forgot-to-get-you-a-Christmas-card – you name it, they sell it and that is because they really want to provide a card for all occasions.

If you want to support small businesses today and can’t make it out to the shops, why not tweet about them, like their Facebook business page or even write an online review for them (please only do this if you have used their service)?  Online recommendation is a powerful way to help small businesses, and what’s more, it really encourages independent traders when they see something lovely written about them – after all independent trading can feel a little lonely at times.

So today, Small Business Saturday 2014, please shop small and shop local: use our independent traders in Urmston and help our little town thrive.

An A-Z of independent businesses in Urmston: https://urmstonindependents.org.uk/urmston-independents-an-a-z-guide/.

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Urmston Market at Christmas

Urmston Market's Christmas Fair takes place this Saturday.

Urmston Market’s Christmas Fair takes place this Saturday.

Along with raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens, Urmston Market’s Christmas Fair is one of my favourite things. This Saturday the market will be bursting with colourful, beautiful, useful things.  As well as festive food and drink, there will be finely-crafted giftware, wreaths and decorations (including large, pot-grown Christmas trees) and all the trimmings you need for Christmas.

Live music will provide an ambient yuletide vibe and the event poster promises ‘festive friends’, so if you do go down to Urmston Market’s Christmas fair, listen out for the jingling of bells and keep an eye on the sky …

Urmston Market is open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with an Artisan Special on the first Saturday of every month and and Vintage and Crafts market on the last Saturday of every month.  It’s a stone’s throw from Urmston train station and the bus stop (numbers 15, 22, 23, 255, 276, 278 and very probably some more).  You can park in Eden Square car park at M41 0NA if you’re driving.

Urmston Market Summer Fair on 9th August 2014

This coming Saturday sees Urmston Market throw its popular summer fair and this year’s event promises to be full of fun for everyone.  Alongside all the usual useful stalls such as Barnes’ fruit and veg, the flower stall, the electrical stall and the haberdashery, there will also be craft, gift and vintage delights on sale.   Let’s not forget the cakes and other scrumptious treats either.

If you get there between 11 and 2pm you can enjoy a FREE magic show as well as various other performances from talented local entertainers.  The bouncy castle will be there all day.  If you are a trader, a musician, a dancer or a provider of family activities, Urmston Market would like to hear from you on 07739 171211 or email urmstonmarket@gmail.com.  Hurry, though: this event is very sought-after.

As ever, Urmston Market can be found on Railway Road, just off Urmston’s main crossroads.  If coming from further afield, the market is a stone’s throw from Urmston train station, or you can take the following buses: 15, 22, 23, 255, 276 or 278.  Get off near Sainsbury’s and the market is a mere hop, skip and a jump away.  You can also park at Eden Square (the big car park is next to Sainsbury’s at M41 0NA).

Urmston Market: some dates for your diary

Craft and Vintage on the last Saturday of every month at Urmston Market – photo courtesy of Urmston Market

Urmston Market is undergoing a remarkable renaissance this spring with many new events and stalls as well as all the excellent regulars.

Following last month’s promising debut, the Vintage and Crafts market will now run on the last Saturday of every month.

Spring Fair at Urmston Market on 12th April – photo courtesy of Urmston Market.

On Saturday 12th April, Urmston Market is holding a spectacular Spring Fair which promises an array of treasures, treats and live music.

Urmston Market will host an artisan market on the first Saturday of every month – beginning May 3rd. Photo courtesy of Urmston Market.

Finally, beginning in May, the first Saturday of every month will see Urmston Market hosting an artisan market.

Would you like to book a stall at one of these events?  It costs just £12, so make contact quickly before they are all booked.

World Book Day 2014: Why We Need Independent Bookshops

World Book Day at Urmston Bookshop

World Book Day 2014 falls this coming Thursday, 6th March and, in celebration of this special day, every school-aged child will receive a token for a free book.  Here are five reasons why you should use your token at Urmston Bookshop on Flixton Road.

1.  Independent bookshops champion reading.  Peter and Frances Hopkins of Urmston Bookshop bring beautiful books and stories into the community with school visits and many events both in the shop and at Urmston Library.  They run creative writing workshops, a book group and engaging events for children in the school holidays and at weekends.

2.  Independent bookshops bring writers and illustrators into the heart of the community.  In the past year, Urmston Bookshop has played host to Johnny Vegas, Ann Widdecombe and children’s author Steve Hartley among many other luminaries.  They even held a book launch for a cat!  This Thursday they have organised an evening with literary legend Joanna Trollope at Urmston Library.

3.  Independent bookshops are run by people who love books, rather than big companies who see books as units to be shifted at maximum profit, no more special than a tin of beans or a tube of toothpaste.  Frances and Peter Hopkins at Urmston Bookshop know and love books and they give fabulously apt recommendations – and not in a robotic, Amazon-esque ‘people who bought X also bought Y’ kind of way.

4.  Independent bookshops pay their taxes.  There are approximately 1,028 bookshops in the UK.  If they each pay tax of £10,000 (and it really isn’t worth all their hard work if they are paying less than this, so this estimate is very conservative) that’s £10 million per year.  Did you know that on-line bookselling behemoth Amazon paid just £2.4 million in UK corporation tax in 2012?  On top of that, more of the money you spend in an independent bookshop stays in the community: the Centre for Local Economic Strategies says that for every £1 that is spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy.  Independent bookshops are good for our local economy.  Amazon does nothing for our local economy and pays disproportionately into our greater economy: that’s why their books are cheaper.

5.  Independent bookshops encourage other interesting businesses to open up in the same area.  Flixton Road in Urmston now boasts an utterly charming vintage shop, a specialist dancewear shop, a clothing boutique, a sweet shop, a tattoo parlour and many other quaint, quirky or useful little businesses that keep Urmston interesting.

Buying from your local independent bookshop is a much nicer experience than purchasing online.  This World Book Day, take a wander in to Urmston Bookshop and see for yourself how special it is.

World Book Day 2014: How to Dress

“There’s more to life than books you know but not much more …”

The Highway Rat buys all his hats in Bon Fabrics at Davyhulme Circle.

World Book Day 2014 is on Thursday, 6th March (that’s this Thursday – came around quickly, didn’t it?).  Many schools invite children and/ or teachers to dress as their favourite book character.  If you need a costume for Thursday for yourself or a child, look no further than Urmston’s two independent fancy dress emporia.

Bon Fabrics at Davyhulme Circle sells costumes, accessories and fabric.

Affordable Fancy Dress on Church Road sells costumes, accessories and joke shop items such as fake sugar cubes or itching powder.

Both shops are good for complete outfits or finishing touches such as wigs, spectacles and hats.  They also afford the opportunity of using the word ’emporium’ which is never a bad thing.

Adults searching for an easy, fast World Book Day costume, visit it my other blog for some ideas.

This is the first of two posts about World Book Day – the next one will focus on (drum roll …) books.

Shrove Tuesday in Urmston

Shrove Tuesday is coming up on March 4th.  Pancakes are feel-good food; an easily concocted sliver of lovely, sugary stodge that come with the added bonus of being flippable.  We may not rival New Orleans’ Mardi Gras but here in Urmston we don’t do too badly on everyone’s favourite Tuesday.

Gloucester Road boasts its very own Pancake Corner, where you can gorge yourself on at least twenty different fillings.  Mama Maria’s on Flixton Road are offering free pancakes (with a main course) but if you feel like trying something a wee bit different visit Lily’s at Eden for a taste of these delightfully special cakes from Sugar Bun Sisters.

Pancake-Cupcakes: chocolate with Nutella and a Vanilla with lemon - on sale in Lily's at Eden.

Pancake-Cupcakes: chocolate with Nutella and a Vanilla with lemon – on sale in Lily’s at Eden.

These lavishly iced cupcakes are topped with the cutest mini pancakes. Choose (Choose? How is this possible?) between chocolate with Nutella or vanilla with lemon.

Other Urmston independents serving freshly flipped pancakes on the day include Darby’s on Flixton Road.

If you run an independent cafe in Urmston and you’d like to be included in this post, please get in touch.  I try to include as many Urmston indpendents and any that are left out are not deliberately excluded.  This website is for all independent Urmston businesses and is completely free.