Independent shops to visit in BristolFriday 13 December 2019 by Jodie Alker We all fall into our routines and get all the little things we tend not to think about from a big chain superstore. This year try and head to a small independently owned shop instead to get your wrapping paper, Christmas tree decorations or handmade Christmas cards and gifts. When you shop in independent shops it means you’re helping to support your local economy and community. Buying from these little places will mean a lot more to the owners then to the person who owns a superstore. In Bristol especially there are many sweet and wonderful independent shops to see, so we have put together just a handful of the best independent shops we think you should visit.
Rag Trade Boutique
If you are looking for somewhere to buy clothes for your high-end friends, then Rag Trade is the way. This place, in short, is a high-end charity shop. Some of us in our wardrobes have way too many clothes we don’t wear but we don’t know what to do with them. Rag Trade is the middleman, here you can find high-end labels and good quality clothes which have been preowned, or just never worn. It’s a great way for you to get good quality clothes without having to buy brand new and buying new clothes constantly isn’t sustainable – it’s a win, win!
The Mighty Quinns Flower Emporium
Photo by @themightyquinnsfloweremporium
A sophisticated flower shop that is bright and airy with a friendly touch. The Mighty Quinns Flower Emporium was established five years ago with an aspiration to build contemporary, natural and wild floral arrangements. They’re based in one of the shipping containers in the up and coming Bristol Harbour selling not just flowers but also plants. Inspired by the owner's love of the natural world around, you will be sure to find something to brighten up any home.
Grape & Grind
Photo by @chevinotley
Giving alcohol as a present is always going to be a winner, depending on who the receiver is. What’s even better is a bottle from Grape and Grind as they have so many to choose from, and most you would have never even heard of. They are also all delicious, tried and tested by everyone who works here - so if you’re spoilt for choice they’ll be able to help you locate the perfect gift. Featured on Gloucester Road they offer a broad range of wines that you won’t find in the multiples, and there is always something new and interesting to try.
Chance & Counters
Photo by @snaptraveltech
Bristol’s first bar solely dedicated to board games is located in a quirky little building at the bottom of the Christmas steps and gives off a delightful Harry Potter vibe. Chance and Counters was started by three friends with a great dream and a massive love for board games. The idea of opening their own board game café was a fun conversation whilst studying and drinking and nothing of reality. When they finished university and couldn’t find a job that they wanted, it seemed like the perfect time to bring their dream to life. Now there is a wonderfully sweet café offering not just a great atmosphere but an obscene amount of board games – both new and old.
Started by Bristol’s first elected mayor, this is a major part of the campaign to support independent and local businesses. The Tobacco Factory, with a hint from the name, is one of the last survivors of the vast Imperial Tobacco site. Not only is it a multi-purpose building with a café, but it also puts on a wonderful Sunday Market and is one of the most exciting performance venues in the country. It adds to North Street’s distinctive character and is a hub for the areas blooming business community.
Photo by @willtaaylor
This is one of the few remaining independent second-hand bookshops in Bristol. Dreadnought Books was opened after the owner decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and enter the second-hand book trade. Under his father’s guidance, he began to learn the tricks of the trade. The desire to open a bookstore derived from a love of history also a love of reading, if you do happen to go here the owner will be happy to give any recommendations.
A unique place where local artists can show off their handmade talents. They started in 2011 with the premise to choose a variety of original artists and designers from Bristol and around and showcase their work. Co.Lab is a small but hardworking operation that loves to work with new and exciting talent. You can purchase any kind of wonderful work from creative writing and gorgeous paintings to fashion and jewellery.
Photo by @figbristol
This adorable little purple shop offers amazing handmade gifts from silver jewellery and glass ornaments to lampshades and clocks. Fig is run by 5 creative ladies who each have an area of expertise. These ladies came together with their wonderful innovation and chose to open Fig so they can show their stunning art to everyone. This little store is another addition to Gloucester Road and is extremely welcoming from the moment you step in., From time to time, they feature work from local artists to help others who are also starting up.
Reg the Veg
Most of us find it hard to shop at small vegs stores as they normally come in our big weekly food shop. This sweet family-run business has been going for over 60 years and offers top quality produce that is both seasonal and local. Reg the Veg is a street style market meaning they use little to no plastic which is a big win for our carbon footprint. Even better, it’s a great place to get your supplies for the winter months and even grab some fresh ingredients for your iconic Christmas dish.
Photo by @paper_smiths
A quirky stationery shop for any lover of writing or general lover of stationary. With everything being made locally, you’ll find everything you didn’t know you needed. Housed in a four-story Georgian building in Clifton Village, Papersmiths celebrates an open plan shop floor offering design-led goods. Everything in this shop the owners use for inspiration for their own day to day creative endeavours in their design studio above.