The State of (Retail) Independence: Celebrating Small Business Saturday

06 December 2014, from a local shop near you, throughout the United Kingdom

Once upon a time, some five decades ago perhaps, there was no such thing as hulking supermarkets. Anything of comparable size to today’s traffic-thronged boxes would be the market hall of a major town or city such as Bolton, Ashton-under-Lyne, Leeds, Huddersfield or Sheffield. Unlike today’s supermarkets they were, and remain in many cases, icons of civic pride.

Not least the variety of stalls and small business owners. Some stallholders boast stalls in more than one market hall. Not least on important thing: customers building a rapport with the traders owing to regular custom. Or, by chance, living in the same area.

Try doing any of the above with an automatic till.

A trip to the local butchers, grocers, bakery or any other shop offers a degree of friendliness lost in the supermarkets. Not least a degree of pleasure and the feeling your money is going back to the local economy.

Which is all the reason to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Our area east of the M60 motorway has an excellent range of independent stores worthy of your custom. In many cases, their wares compare well with or undercut supermarket prices. As far as fresh produce is concerned, head and shoulders against our superstore chains.

Markets on Small Business Saturday, east of the M60 motorway:

  • Bury (indoor and outdoor markets);
  • Radcliffe (indoor market);
  • Heywood (indoor market);
  • Middleton (outdoor market);
  • Rochdale (indoor and semi-open markets);
  • Oldham (indoor and outdoor markets);
  • Ashton-under-Lyne (indoor, and outdoor general and Christmas markets);
  • Hyde (indoor and outdoor markets);
  • Glossop (indoor and outdoor markets);
  • Stockport (indoor and outdoor markets).

As well as our markets, here’s a selection of our favourite shops and eateries.

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If there’s one town centre that offers something for everyone, Bury offers that in bucket loads. From chain stores to its world famous market, even the stingiest of shoppers fail to leave empty-handed.

Bury Market:

Bury’s market will be in full swing this Saturday with its plethora of indoor and outdoor stalls. We particularly love:

  • The Fish and Meat Market: for its good value meat packs and fresh fish;
  • Katsouris: an excellent internationally themed delicatessen with much expanded café;
  • Save Records: the last of what was hitherto a four-stall chain (other branches were in Rochdale, Oldham and Lincoln). Sells a wide variety of rare CD and cassette tape releases;
  • Chadwick’s Black Pudding stall: hailed as the original and the best. They’re not wrong either. Goes well on a barm with a decent thick pork sausage and a splash of English mustard.

Victor Wright, 69 The Rock, Bury:
No trip to Bury is complete without a visit to Victor Wright’s electronics shop. It is a veritable Aladdin’s cave for retrogamers or anybody looking for hard to find spare parts.


The Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale:
Formerly a hardware shop, The Baum is a free house which offers a wealth of real ales and foreign bottled beers. It is slightly out of the way from the main shopping centre yet central enough to be near the bus and tram interchange. It is also known for its fine food and won the CAMRA’s Pub of the Year award for 2014. If you’re calling in the Rochdale Pioneers’ Museum, this public house is unmissable (being only next door).


Shoppers on Small Business Saturday will be in for a treat as 29 businesses will be offering discounts. These include Appleby’s Deli, Lords Butchers and the delightfully named Outdated Coffee and Dessert House. Some of which will continue throughout December.


Al Marrakech, 11 – 15 Union Street, Oldham:
If you’re fed up of waiting in McDonalds on High Street, Al Marrakech offers a wonderful alternative a tram stop away, with its range of Asian and African fast food at affordable prices.


You will always be spoilt for choice in Uppermill, and even more so if you wish to hop on and off the 350 service to Dobcross and Delph or Greenfield as well as Saddleworth’s largest village.

Wilberry’s, 83 High Street, Uppermill:
Highly popular café, well worth considering for its jumbo breakfast muffins (the size of a bar stool!). Also close to main bus stop near The Commercial Hotel.

Seasons Christmas Shop, 81 High Street, Uppermill:
Celebrate Christmas 364 days a year, gasp in awe at the decorations and coloured lights. All the more reason to with Christmas Day three weeks off.

The Towpath Bookshop, 27 High Street, Uppermill:
Not to be missed! Close to the Saddleworth Museum and Art Gallery, this bijou second hand bookshop has an excellent transport section and a good selection of local titles.


Mossley Wholefoods, 11 – 13 Arundel Street, Top Mossley:
Probably the best health food shop in Tameside? We think so for its selection of locally sourced foods and foodstuffs suitable for people on restricted diets.

The Flying Teapot, Manchester Road, Roaches:
In the grounds of Woodend Mills, The Flying Teapot Café offers a real escape from the hurly burly with tea and coffee in pleasant surroundings. It is a mere 343 or 354 bus ride away from Stalybridge bus station.


Sara Dip and Tea, 1 Princes Place, Armentieres Square, Stalybridge:
Sublime breakfasts and traditional Mediterranean style dishes are the order of the day. The cheerfully decorated café has excellent views of the canal and offers a real escape from everyday pressures.

J.W. Mettrick and Sons, 63 Melbourne Street, Stalybridge:
The town centre’s first butchers after a two year gap opened last year, and has cemented its reputation as a ‘must visit’ shop in Stalybridge. As well as their sausages and pork pies, try the Pulled Pork muffin: there almost seems to be half a pig on it!

Be Creative, 3 Corporation Street, Stalybridge:
The latest addition to Stalybridge town centre, opposite the Harmers public house (formerly The Friendship). Offers a wide range of stationery and crafty materials.


Ashton-under-Lyne is fortunate in having a good number of independent shops, mainly in the Old Town part of the centre. There is good reason to take a bus, train or tram to Ashton this Saturday owing to its Christmas market.

William Walton and Sons, 152 Stamford Street Central, Ashton-under-Lyne:
The oldest shop in Ashton-under-Lyne having continuously traded from the same unit since 1832. After focusing on stationery it has, in the internet age, focused more on cake decoration sundries.

JRS Collectables, 15 Market Avenue, Ashton-under-Lyne:
Small yet interesting shop for modellers and collectors of model cars, lorries, trains and buses. Also has a small selection of transport books.

Browton’s Beer Shop, 8 Fletcher Street, Ashton-under-Lyne:
A must for lovers of bottle conditioned ales. Also handy for this year’s Christmas market and close to the pop-up pub.

The Shubar, 36 Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne:
Along with Edward Meeks, pretty much an Ashtonian institution in terms of footwear. If you tend to be discerning about your shoes, or wish to show your offspring a proper shoe shop, this is the place. Its first floor café is worth a visit with coffee and sandwiches at realistic prices.


Of late, Glossop has been hailed as one of the most desirable places to live in The Sunday Times. Its fast rail links with Manchester Piccadilly and access to the Peak District are denoted as its selling points.

Bay Tree Books and Gifts, 96 High Street West, Glossop:
If you wish to get off the bus a little earlier (thanks to its endemic traffic problems), Bay Tree Books is an adorable little bookshop. There is a good number of new non-fiction and fiction titles.

George Street Books, 35 Chapel Street, Glossop:
Slightly tucked away from High Street West, Aladdin’s cave is quite an understatement for this shop. With books in every nook and cranny, there is an excellent non-fiction section. In one of the rooms, you can also help yourself to a soft drink (payment is made through an honesty box).

Hadfield Bakery, 13 Jacksons Buildings, Victoria Street, Glossop:
The greatest pies in Glossop has always been the subject of a two horse race between Mettricks and the Hadfield Bakery. The latter wings it owing to their superior Cornish style pasties. Their beef stew also looks delectable, as do their freshly made sandwiches.

Roy Green and Son Quality Butchers, 10 High Street West, Glossop:
The lure of J.W. Mettrick’s can be too good to miss, but in doing so, we miss out an equally desirable neighbour. Try the sausages – well worth considering.

The Market Café, Glossop Indoor Market:
As English breakfasts go, theirs is well and truly in the Champions League. Not as one making up the numbers, but up with the Real Madrids of the breakfast world. Everything is freshly done and the portions are generous. The same also goes for the main meals; don’t forget to arrive in good time to be sure of a seat.


Houldsworth Mill, Houldsworth Street, Reddish:
A trip to the Lancashire town’s iconic mill is not to be missed! There is among its floorspace two shopping centres. The second floor plays host to the Houldsworth Mill Shopping Village with a mock Victorian street setting and awesome views of Manchester and further afield from its windows. There is a variety of shops and a café (Ann’s Old Time Café).

At basement level is the Houldsworth Mill Emporium with more idiosyncratic units for collectors. Again, there’s a café, a modern one known as The Tea Room.

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Before I go…

Feel free to add to the list. Or elaborate on the examples I have added. Whether you wish to enjoy The Baum or browse in Millie’s catalogue shop, feel free to comment.

S.V., 04 December 2014.


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