How Altrincham’s independent businesses are lifting the spirits in lockdown
PUBLISHED: 06:14 19 May 2020
Altrincham is the home of the independents and in this trying time, the market town has truly come together
A few years ago, the market town of Altrincham went through a huge transformation, turning from a run down ‘ghost town’ to a trendy and thriving place that has become home to many independent businesses. The high street is packed with a variety of shops, from quirky home interiors to stylish fashion stores, as well as a huge amount of coffee shops and restaurants; it’s really no surprise that Altrincham won High Street of the Year back in 2018. You could easily while away a day in Altrincham – it’s a town with a strong independent spirit and a lot to offer both locals and visitors.
Altrincham has a long-standing history of being a market town and today people flock to Altrincham Market in its new contemporary form, resurrected by businessman Nick Johnson. He picked up the ailing market hall and populated it with a carefully curated line up of small-time food and drink traders. Visitors can enjoy everything from a succulent steak from Tender Cow to artisanal chocolates from Sam Joseph. The market proved to be so popular that it inspired two others, Mackie Mayor in Manchester City Centre and the Picturedrome in Macclesfield. Due to the current situation the market is closed, but many of the traders have devised novel digital solutions, such as Honest Crust, which has provided a step-by-step guide for you to enjoy their sourdough pizzas in the comfort of your own home, and Tender Cow, which has put together DIY kits to make your own delicious burgers. On top of providing those at home with some delicious goodies, many of the market folks have also teamed up with an array of charities to bring tasty meals to those working in hospitals and bringing meals to homeless people, all showcasing the community spirit Altrincham has become known for.
Chris Taylor, owner of the popular Gran T’s Coffee Shop on Stamford New Road, is incredibly proud to be a part of Altrincham’s offering. ‘Altrincham has so many qualities that we are privileged with as a town. It has an amazing high street with a mix of great independent shops and chains, many independent coffee shops, and bars and restaurants. But most importantly it’s the supportive community that really makes this town. A community that will always support each other, pull together and make this town what it is.’ Gran T’s is more than just a coffee shop, and has become a community hot spot, offering movie nights, knitting workshops and private events.
The businesses that call Altrincham home have adapted cleverly to the current situation. Many have been creating virtual events that people at home can take part in, really showcasing their caring spirit. Narrowed down into a range of categories, Altrincham Unlimited showcases a weekly what’s on guide to keep people at home entertained whilst supporting the businesses. You can take online yoga classes with Narali Yoga, get a tailored facial from Bare Beauty and even enjoy an online gin tasting from Riddles. The options vary weekly and give you the time to enjoy what Altrincham has to offer.
Kate Proctor, owner of Sew Creative, is providing sewing survival kits for all abilities and loves being an Altrincham business. ‘I believe that what makes Altrincham so special is the independent businesses. You can go to a shopping centre anywhere in the country and it is no different from one to the next, yet when a town is full of indie businesses it provides something unique. It offers visitors and residents a wealth of different experiences.
‘As an independent retailer, we always have to strive to be the best to get our voice heard above the larger chains. Customer service is at the forefront of independents, and on most days, you will often find the owner in the shop as these businesses are our passion. I love being part of the business community within Altrincham, as we all work together and help each other out as much as we can, this has been especially true in the last few weeks. We have ordered from each other to help with sales, we shout about other businesses on social media, and we have set up a group chat where we share information on how to access government grants.’
It’s clear to see that when the world does eventually right itself, the business owners of Altrincham will be there to welcome you back with open arms and a caring smile; with so many options to choose from, we’ll be spoilt for choice.