Debbie Bryan crowned Nottingham’s Best Independent Business 2016
Debbie Bryan gift shop and tea room has been revealed as the overall winner of the It’s in Nottingham Top Independent Business Competition 2016, organised by the Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), as part of its three month long campaign to highlight the strength and diversity of independent retail and leisure businesses in the city centre.
Located on St Mary’s Gate in Nottingham’s historic Lace Market, Debbie Bryan specialises in British craftsmanship, stocking a wide range of lighting pieces, ceramics, jewellery, artwork and high quality textiles, alongside Debbie Bryan’s own signature scarves and brooches. They also have a tea room and host a range of craft events. It has a great heritage and history in the city.
Womenswear boutique, Stick and Ribbon on Bridlesmith Walk was highly commended in the shops and services category and The Coffee House in Hurts Yard was highly commended in the eating, drinking and things to do category.
To arrive at the final result in the competition, an independent judging panel comprising of Jodie Baker of last year’s winners The Treat Kitchen; Catherine Mayhew from Nottingham City Council; Suzy Harris, retail expert at Nottingham Trent University and Kevin Urquhart, managing director of regional magazine, Sixty Nine Degrees considered the findings of mystery shoppers who had visited the top ten businesses. They had rated the ten businesses on a range of criteria including staff friendliness, customer service, product range, knowledge and individuality. The top ten had been arrived at by a public vote which saw over 100 businesses nominated.
Nottingham BID director and owner of independent gift shop, The Tokenhouse, Geoff Williams, said: “Many congratulations to Debbie Bryan on winning the competition. We have lots of great well established independent businesses in the city centre as well as many new and emerging ones, so there was plenty of competition for the title but Debbie Bryan is a worthy winner.”
“The range and quality of independent businesses in the city centre is something that Nottingham should be very proud of,” said Catherine Mayhew, city centre co-ordinator at Nottingham City Council. “It gives shoppers and visitors a unique and interesting experience that they won’t get in other places and by supporting these small businesses, people are getting great quality products and services as well as helping to improve the local economy.”
One of the other judges Kevin Urquhart commented: “I loved the creativity of Debbie Bryan; the retail and craft sides combined to make a compelling must-visit store. And customers obviously love it too, as they are very vocal supporters. Well done.”
“Being shortlisted in the top ten was great and provided a real boost to our business because it drew attention to us,” said Debbie Bryan. “It’s a real coup to have won the competition and when you look at the past winners, we are in some great company.”
The other businesses that made the top ten in the public vote were: Annie’s Burger Shack on Broadway, Specialty Coffee Shop on Friar Lane, Volt Nightclub on Broadway, Dukki Gifts in intu Broadmarsh Centre, Hopkinsons on Station Street, nkd Waxing on Pelham Street and Page 45 on Market Street.
To celebrate Debbie Bryan winning, It’s in Nottingham’s Summer Sofa – an oversized purple sofa, specially created for the Summer of Independents campaign starts its journey in the Lace Market, close to the winning business. It will remain there for a week before moving on to its next location.
The areas where the sofa will appear during August and September will correspond with where there are lots of independent businesses.
Wherever the Summer Sofa is, people will be able to sit on it and soak up the atmosphere of the area and enjoy the various activities, competitions, offers and give-aways associated with that area, which will be announced at 10am on various days throughout the week via It’s in Nottingham’s social media channels. Clues of the daily giveaways will also be available at http://www.itsinnottingham.com/independents
The new issue of The Nottingham Independent newspaper features profiles and interviews to showcase everything independent businesses in the city centre have to offer from fashion stores, jewellers, shoe shops, homes specialists and hair and beauty salons, to cafes, delis, coffee shops, pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. It also has a comprehensive directory of the city’s independent retail and leisure businesses. 20,000 copies of the newspaper have been produced and delivered to homes across Nottingham. The newspaper is also available for people to pick up at businesses around the city.
As the climax to the Summer of Independents campaign, there is a special Independents Festival taking place on Saturday 1 October with stages being set up at several locations across the city and free entertainment throughout the day for people to enjoy.