When you first move to a new area you very quickly find out where the local supermarket is, the post office, the nearest restaurant and bar, but some of the best local shops that are tucked away down hidden alleyways can take a long time to discover. These hidden gems are usually the independently owned shops and are often located off the beaten path and not on the high street. In this article we’re going to share with you some of the secrets to finding the best local shops in your area.
The best way to find anything in a new neighbourhood is to put on your trainers and get walking. Choose a sunny day over the weekend when you have no other plans and make a day of it. It doesn’t matter if you get lost, although if you are worried you could always use a map app on your phone or even plot out a rough route beforehand, just see where each path takes you and go with it.
Some of the best local shops can be found on the pedestrianized pavements, so you’d never ever find them unless you explored by foot. From hidden home furniture shops filled with bespoke pieces that will help you to find the best console table for your new hallway, local antique shops that offer a treasure trove of interior inspiration to help you recreate your lusted after Pinterest boards, through to artisan bakeries, fashion boutiques, and delis, walking around your new area will see you discovering all kinds of new and exciting finds.
And of course, always remember to stop for regular coffee breaks when you discover a new cafe en route and to pause for lunch at a lovely local bistro, with maybe a cheeky glass of wine or two.
Use Local Facebook Groups
Another great way to find the best local shops is by joining the local Facebook groups. Just do a search for your area on Facebook and there are bound to be lots of different ones that pop up. We have one in our home town focused entirely on shopping locally and it gives local businesses a chance to advertise, inform people about any special offers they have, as well as opening hours etc. It’s a fantastic resource for owners and customers alike, and even more useful if you’re new to town.
Local Facebook groups are also really useful if you’re searching for slightly more specialist stores, for example hobby or model shops. When you’ve been hunting for a 350 crate engine turn key for the car you’ve been doing up in your spacious new garage, it’s good to know you can find exactly the part you’ve been looking for.
Facebook groups will also give you an opportunity to chat with local people, which brings us onto our third and final secret for finding the best local shops.
Ask People Who Already Live There
Who could possibly know an area better than the people who already live there, so it’s time for you to get on out there and start chatting to the locals. People are always happy to help, especially when it comes to singing the praises of their neighbourhood. When you’re looking for the best local fresh meat for your next barbecue, or trying to find that specialist ingredient for that new recipe you cut out of the paper last week, it will be the knowledge of the local residents that helps you to track these things down.
It’s easy to strike up a conversation when you’re stood in a queue waiting for your coffee and croissant at your new favourite cafe, or when you take the kids to the playground and they start playing with some of the other kids you can easily talk to the other parents. And not only will you learn lots of interesting things about your new hometown, but you might also make some new friends too.
With lockdown restrictions starting to ease and with shops starting to reopen it’s really important we support local businesses and shops by giving them our custom. Hopefully these three tips will give you the confidence to get out there and to start exploring your local community.