It is July, also known as Independent Retailer Month throughout the UK, but in Kings Heath every month is independent month, as the town is awash with an eclectic mix of successful independent businesses that really shape what Kings Heath is all about.
From York Road, to Poplar Road, Heathfield Road to Silver Street and even on the High Street – you have to work harder to find a shop or café that isn’t independent in Kings Heath. In recent years even the big boys such as Asda and Costa Coffee have seen the virtues of this thriving Town, snapping up the vacant retail space, which is unusually hard to come by.
One business in particular has shown what it really means to be an ‘independent retail business’- as People Shop on Poplar Road is not just an independent business stocking any old products. They make all their own stock themselves – from dresses, to homeware, gifts and jewellery – it is all created on site, in the studio at the rear of the store.
People is owned and run by Christian, Allison and Jo – three seriously creative entrepreneurs who love what they do, explains Allison:
“People is more than just a shop, it is our lives, our passion and all of our creativity is poured in to the clothing and products that we lovingly create for our customers.
“We are so proud to be an independent and to be based in the heart of Kings Heath, which is just a vibrant and buzzing corner of the West Midlands. I don’t think there is a place like it, with so much going on – and yet for those who don’t live on the doorstep it always seems to come as such a pleasant surprise that Kings Heath has got so much to offer.”
People has been in business in the town for 13 years and Allison’s business partner and husband – Christian is one of the region’s most in-demand wedding dress designers and makers – known more widely as ‘Mr Christian’.
“When thinking about setting up our business back in 2000, we didn’t really need to give the location a second thought, we knew all about Kings Heath and it was already the home to so many other exciting independent businesses. We’ve been thrilled with how our business has thrived and grown over the years. We are really passionate about the town and Jo from our team also sits on a committee for the town’s Business Improvement District,” explains Christian.
Kate Smart, Town Centre Manager is keen to reiterate that Independents really are what make Kings Heath stand out:
“We’re a melting pot of independent businesses that are truly thriving. From the Kitchen Garden Café, the infamous Hare and Hounds, Top Banana and I Had One of Those – the list goes on and on. This July people who don’t know about how great Kings Heath is, really should put their money where their mouth is and come check it out.”