We love an independent… anything here at Canopy & Stars. Who doesn’t love to see smaller businesses bring their own unique take to our high streets. When we’re on the road, out inspecting places to see or stay, we see a lot on the way, from the weird to the wonderful, the practical and the impractical, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite independent shops in Herefordshire:
What is it: Established in 2003, this family run business has been going for 20 odd years, once owned by Micky and Sara, it’s been passed onto the next generation, Lauren, to carry on its good work. In the centre of Hay-on-Wye, it’s a camping shop – with a selection of clothing, gear, as well as souvenirs, trinkets and gifts that totally transcend the usual unusable tat that populates shops in heavily touristed areas.
Why we love it: Packed to the brim with coolers, blankets, walking shoes and boots, a little glance around will read like an encyclopaedic tour of the heavy hitters of outdoors brands, both from the UK and the US, and much, much more.
Our tip: Accept you will buy yourself a little treat and be done with it. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet the resident dogs – who are absolutely thrilled to meet every new customer.
What is it: Part café, part shop, The Old Electric Shop resists definition. And why shouldn’t it? You won’t find any strict boundaries inside for where one begins and the other ends – and that’s very much on purpose. The ethos is the same, whether it’s the chair you’re sitting on, the sandwich you’re eating, or the patinaed vintage housewares and fairtrade clothes on sale. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Why we love it: Pop into a knick-knack and curios store, and you’ll find a lot of cool stuff. But in reality, you’ll likely only find a few bits and bobs, specialised items or room-specific stuff. At The Old Electric Shop, you’ll find enough to kit out the house – there’s homeware, plants, candles, body and bath stuff, rugs and textiles, kids’ stuff, clothing, stationary… and yes, more.
Our Tip: You could be in Hay for a stay, or just on the way through, but if you get the chance, come here first when your bank balance is still looking healthy. No one wants to discover their great stuff when they’ve already spent their holiday money. And the best part – allot a little time for lunch too, whilst you’re there.
What is it: Founded in 2009 as a wholesale business for pubs and restaurants, they’ve (thankfully) branched out to retail, offering a mind-boggling range (over 1200) of wines, whiskies, spirits, liqueurs, beers, ciders and perries. They even have an extensive range of organic, biodynamic, natural, vegan and low sulphite wines – to cater to everyone.
Why we love it: Offering tastings and regular events, it’s not just a great space to go shopping for alcohol, it’s also somewhere you can learn a little more, and develop your palette. With that range, there’s undoubtedly something for yourself, and more importantly the service is incredible.
Our tip: Don’t stand on ceremony here, whether you know what you like, have a little knowledge on the matter or just don’t like asking for help – it’s worth talking to the staff for recommendations – as they have 75+ years’ experience in the wine trade. They’ll know what bottle to point you to.
What is it: Tusk defines itself as: 'a family run lifestyle and clothing shop on Ledbury high street promoting relaxed living.' The aesthetic is heavily cultured, offering up clothes and jewellery that wouldn't look out of place on the Riviera, as well as homeware and stationery that has a minimalist feel that converts rooms into stylish, airy and uncluttered modern spaces.
Why we love it: Firstly, it's not often that shops are run by a mother/daughter dynamic, which is not only lovely to see -- but also helps keep the range available in the store both fresh and timeless in its style. Second, creating your own aesthetic, either in your wardrobe or in your home, can be challenging. Trying to find those matching sets, and consistent vibe can be hard, but here, the hard work's done for you.
Our tip: You're just round the corner here from Pot & Page, plant-based restaurant and teahouse, so walk -- quite literally one minute -- round the corner and settle in for some incredible vegan food. Whilst you're there, read a book, and say hi to Badger and Floozie, their two dogs or Bailey, the ginger cat.
What is it: How could we make a list of indie shops, and not include a plant store? So central, the store appears under the name ‘Hereford’ on google maps, it’s an easy 15-minute walk from the train station. Here you’ll find a calming white space, where all the colour is provided from the life growing in the store (plus a few rad neon signs). They sell plants, lead workshops on terrariums, pot painting, plant care, wellbeing and more.
Why we love it: Pick up anything from a Calathea to Devil’s Ivy, grab a gorgeous pot for your plant baby that’s outgrown its planter, invest in your first terrarium, grab some advice for that one plant that’s dying no matter what you try – or just grab the most stunning water can you’ve ever seen.
Our tip: If you can time a trip to be here for a workshop, do it. Beyond the practical advice, the chill surroundings and the simple sheer fun you’ll have – getting out of your own head for a minute, and being absorbed in a task you do with your hands can be incredibly restorative. Give it a go.
What is it: You’re not going to believe this, but it’s directly next door to Löv Leaf. With two stores, Fodder Basics, and Fodder Lotions and Potions, they serve all the big players of health foods, supplements and vitamins as well as the staples you’d want in your pantries, as well as a whole range of skincare and beauty products. All either organic, ethical, vegan or some combination of all of them.
Why we love it: If you go in search of their Facebook page, you’ll find Mark’s infectious enthusiasm fuelling product videos, and informing you on anything from plant-based collagen to organic beans. If you happen to forget something important, or fancy a treat back at your space, you’ve got an easy spot to grab your all-natural shampoo, or an organic kimchi for a one pot recipe on your getaway.
Our tip: Get chatting to the charming proprietors, Mark and Phil. Fodder’s been open since 1978, and speaking to these gents, you’ll get the benefit of decades of experience. Curious about a product? This isn’t just scrolling through the reviews online to find someone to trust who didn’t put grammar in at random, you can actually speak to someone who knows their stuff. Get a recommendation, and get health-food-y.