United KingdomChange Country

Shop small with American Express to make a big difference to your local community

Don't live life without it.

American Express understands that we can all achieve more – in life and business – if someone has our back. 


That’s why for many years, American Express has been actively encouraging people to shop small, alongside its role as founder and principal supporter of Small Business Saturday in the UK – now in its seventh year.

 

For many of us our local high street is more than just bricks and mortar.  It is the place we go to seek out experiences, to gather expertise from local small business owners and to meet our friends.  It is our community.  So, it’s not surprising that when people feel part of, and get involved in their local community, everyone thrives.

 

From spending in your local shop, to telling friends and family about that new-found neighbourhood gem, it’s easy to show your support.

 

So next time you’re shopping in and around your neighbourhood, make sure to use your American Express Card.   Packed with ways to get more from your everyday spending, our range of Cards have various loyalty schemes such as Membership Rewards® points (that never expire) which can be used to treat yourself to almost anything, to money back on your everyday purchases or Avios points to help you get closer to your next adventure.

 

Not only will you be making the everyday more rewarding, but you’ll be making a big difference to your local community at the same time.

 

Get inspired with our online map.

 

The American Express map is full of small shops across the UK, perfect for when you’re looking for some inspiration about where to go when you are out and about.


All the shops featured accept American Express, which means every time you use your Card to shop small, you'll be rewarded on your everday spend but also helping your local small businesses to thrive so that your community does too.

 

The map is best viewed in Google Chrome.

 

Shop Small Spring Edit.

 

For more inspiration on where to shop small we have created our very own Shop Small magazine in partnership with Courier, a leading voice in the sector and champion of small businesses.  For us, it was a natural collaboration due to our shared passion for backing small business; helping consumers to discover them and shining a light on the people behind them. 


We’ve selected some of our favourite articles from the magazine, including editorial content from the Courier team about insightful shopping trends, the up and coming small businesses to watch out for, as well as a handy guide of the shops and places to visit on Bellenden Road in Peckham. We hope you enjoy!  

Trends for Spring 2019

 

From the rise of mezcal to the popularity of recipe boxes, big businesses often find inspiration for new products from the independents.  In fact, most main-stream retail trends, if you look closely, begin small – it’s the kind of trickle-up effect we all benefit from.  And it’s easy to get excited about shopping small when the UK’s independent food, drink and retail scene is this impressive.   Head over to our merchant page for more 2019 trends.

Spice up your life

Rooted Spices

Chefs don’t bank on flavour from discoloured spices dating back to the early 2000s, so why should home cooks?  Step forward Rooted Spices, a range of tin caddies filled with single-origin spices and blends like urfa pul biber (a Turkish aromatic everyday table spice) and Amchur dried mango.

 

Founded by Clara Glass and Rachel Walker, Rooted Spices are super fresh and sourced from single suppliers, and refills are available when you run out.  The kind of kitchen ammunition that looks good on your shelf and tastes even better in your dishes.

 

rootedspices.com

 

To give a little something back, we encourage our Cardmembers to Shop Small with local businesses each year.  When they spend £10 or more at a participating small business from 1-16 December 2018, they get a £5 credit.
Best of all, it costs nothing for you to take part.  If your business is eligible, you will have been contacted by us and automatically enrolled.  Your business will be displayed on the Shop Small map and Cardmembers will be able to redeem their offer when they spend £10 or more in your store from 1-16 December 2016 (at no cost to you).

(Misshapen) fruit of fortune

Oddbox

2018 was the summer of wonky fruit and veg.  Sales of misshapen produce soared as ranges expanded at many of the major supermarkets, but the trend has long been ripe among the independents.  Launched in 2011, Rubies in the Rubble rescues fruit in a pickle to make award-winning condiments like spicy banana ketchup and chipotle mayo, while Oddbox delivers a selection of ugly (but delicious) perishables to Londoners’ doorsteps.

 

Zero waste dining and drinking is sprouting slower, but head to Cub restaurant in London, Doug McMaster’s collaboration with ‘the world’s best bartender’ Ryan Chetiyawardana (otherwise known as Mr Lyan) - for a cocktail led six-dish set menu. A champagne coupe of ‘ugly’ peaches, Bruichladdich whiskey and Islay seaweed, anyone? 

 

To give a little something back, we encourage our Cardmembers to Shop Small with local businesses each year.  When they spend £10 or more at a participating small business from 1-16 December 2018, they get a £5 credit.
Best of all, it costs nothing for you to take part.  If your business is eligible, you will have been contacted by us and automatically enrolled.  Your business will be displayed on the Shop Small map and Cardmembers will be able to redeem their offer when they spend £10 or more in your store from 1-16 December 2016 (at no cost to you).

Meat free market

What the Pitta!

January 2019 was the month that ‘Veganuary’ seemed to propel veganism from a niche campaign to a mainstream movement.  According to data from market expert Mintel, Britain has now overtaken Germany with the most vegan brand launches in the world and London has dozens of specialist vegan joints, with a buzzing junk food scene that’s worth trekking across the city to sample.

 

Many are so successful, they’re opening multiple sites: Temple of Seitan’s finger-lickin’ fried ‘chicken,’  What the Pitta’s vegan doner kebabs and fried jackfruit patties at Biff ’s Jack Shack, to name but a few.  2019 is the year of the vegan burger though, with plant-based burger brands that “bleed” now available on many supermarket shelves.  Pure meat-free magic.

 

Follow the paper trail

Papier

The success of stationery start-up Papier is a sure sign that tangible, personalised paper products are back on the cards.  Aiming to ‘inspire people to connect with each other in a more thoughtful way and more often,'

 

Papier is set to take a significant chunk of the UK’s £2.5 billion stationery market and has collaborated on ranges with the likes of interiors darling Luke Edward Hall and writer Dolly Alderton, to engage millennial consumers.  If browsing IRL is more your thing, Papersmiths in Brighton is a scribbler’s Shangri-La. 

 

To give a little something back, we encourage our Cardmembers to Shop Small with local businesses each year.  When they spend £10 or more at a participating small business from 1-16 December 2018, they get a £5 credit.
Best of all, it costs nothing for you to take part.  If your business is eligible, you will have been contacted by us and automatically enrolled.  Your business will be displayed on the Shop Small map and Cardmembers will be able to redeem their offer when they spend £10 or more in your store from 1-16 December 2016 (at no cost to you).

Spoke & Stringer, Unit 1, Lime Kiln Road, Bristol

Spoke & Stringer
Spoke & Stringer

Kristian Crews opened Spoke & Stringer in 2015.  Before then he was an engineer on offshore oil and gas rigs, spending a lot of time on his own and dreaming of opening his own store one day.  Based on the Bristol waterfront, Crews’ multi-purpose space brings together the things he is most passionate about - surfboards, motorcycles, pushbikes and skateboards, as well as food. ‘We say we’re a café shop based around ride culture, which covers anything from bicycles, to boards, to motorbikes,’ says Crews. ‘But you don’t have to be into it all, or even any of those things, to come in and get a nice sandwich.’

 

As well as the surfboards, wetsuit repair kits and bicycles, customers can browse an array of out-door adventure brands: sweaters, hoodies, tanks, beanies and jeans from the likes of Pukas, Deus Ex Machina and Amuse Society among others.  In recent years, with its thriving food and drink scene, Bristol has proven there is culinary life outside London. So it comes as little surprise that the café, deli and restaurant are at the heart of Spoke & Stringer, which uses fresh and locally sourced ingredients. There’s good coffee, an award-winning brunch, pastries and pasties baked daily and San Sebastián-inspired pintxos in the evening. 

 

On why he decided to set up his brand in Bristol, Crews says: ‘I can go surfing within an hour, or be in the hills in 10 minutes, and can still get to London easily.’

 

spokeandstringer.com

The Pilgrm, 25 London Street, London

The Pilgrim
The Pilgrim

Visitors to The Pilgrm hotel in Paddington are greeted with a coffee shop, simple entry without a check-in - and a 200-year-old mahogany staircase.  ‘When I was opening this hotel I had this sense that I wanted to do things very differently, challenge the way traditional hotels operate,’ says Jason.  ‘I knew it was possible to create something very sustainable, very design conscious, but with a lot of integrity in the way it’s done; for example, how materials are sourced and where they are from.’ 

 

Clearly, design matters. The royal-blue coffee cups match the tiles on the outside of the building.  The interior feels playful yet respectful of the building’s heritage: the original parquet flooring and other period features have been restored, set against an eclectic mix of contemporary artworks.  Formely an upmarket early Victorian town-house, the building had been a run-down two-star B&B when The Pilgrm team took over, and needed a substantial restoration.


The founders enlisted Tim Hubbard of Sheffield-based design firm 93ft, who unearthed material and vintage fixtures and fittings from all over the UK – including a water fountain that once stood in the Natural History Museum.  Upcycling, utilising British craftsmanship and employing as many original materials as possible from the UK were also important parts of the design process. 

 

The joy of The Pilgrm is in what’s gone into the detail, but also what’s been left out.  There are no phones, televisions, minibars, tea-and coffee-making facilities or air-conditioning in the rooms, with guests checking in online prior to arrival.  ‘The more you pull on that thread, the more you realise just how much extraneous stuff there really is in hotels,’ says Thrasyvoulou. ‘Lose that and you can reappropriate your attention on things people really do value, like a great mattress, sustainability, super-fast wifi or the materiality of the room.’  ‘Our guests are people who love less faff,’ agrees Catifeoglu. ‘There’s enough noise out there today without us putting pieces of paper in their rooms telling them what to do and when. For us it’s about creating the space and letting people fill that how they want.’

 

thepilgrm.com

Go for...

 

Breakfast and brunch:  An unfussy menu, made up of locally sourced ingredients and cold press juices.

 

Coffee:   Every year, Workshop Coffee spend a few months in East Africa, South and Central America working with some of the world’s best coffee farmers to source their coffee. Once it’s back, they roast it in Bethnal Green.

 

Cocktails:   The bar is a small but glamorous space of velvet upholstery and vintage furnishings, serving recipes supplied by some of the world’s best bars.

 

Value:   The 73 rooms come in Bunk, Small, Medium and Large, all under £200, and many a lot less than that.

 

The location:   The Norfolk Square address is around the corner from Paddington station, close to all the food, drink and nightlife around nearby King’s Cross and the new developments there.

The Pilgrm

Small Bean businesses

 

As cafés overtake pubs as the main place to meet and greet, there’s been an explosion of specialist and independent coffee shops. In such a competitive climate, having an angle is everything.

 

 

Redemption Roasters
Redemption Roasters

Redemption Roasters

 

Max Dubiel didn't start out in business with charitable intentions, but in 2016, when the Ministry of Justice approached the entrepreneurial coffee wholesaler about a barista training programme for young offenders, he saw an opportunity.  After visiting HM Prison Aylesbury, he and business partner Ted Rosner realised there was a gap in the market.  ‘Coffee is a huge and fast-growing business, especially in London, but at the same time underprivileged youths have absolutely no access to it.’ says Dubiel. ‘The idea came up, not just to offer these guys skills, but also links into employment.’

 

This was the birth of Redemption Roasters, a speciality coffee business with a social conscience that runs cafés in Bloomsbury, Farringdon, and the new Coal Drops Yard retail district.  But the real talking point is the company’s sleek roastery, housed within the young offenders institution at Aylesbury.  Here, inmates aged 18 to 21 learn basic barista skills and customer service, and roast the coffee bound for Redemption’s cafés and broader wholesale business. 

 

There are also new barista training academies at HMP Bullingdon, Springhill and Wormwood Scrubs, with more planned to bring additional trainees through the system. The ideal outcome is for inmates who ‘graduate’ with Redemption to  find work with the company on  their release.  ‘That’s when they are at their most vulnerable,’ says Dubiel.  ‘So we offer them more support and are probably a bit more lenient when they’re late or if they have small hiccups.  After about six months, we pass them on to one of our wholesale clients or the wider industry.  If they don’t reoffend, we’ve done our job.’

 

It might sound worthy but as Dubiel points out, having a company with solid corporate social responsibility equates to a strong business advantage.  ‘We’ve done very well out of the public impact we’ve had,’ he says.  ‘It gives us a clear point of difference.  Also, in our case, working with ex-offenders means working with an individual who has been given a second chance and we have been rewarded with hard work and loyalty.  If someone has a criminal record you’ll know a lot about them – much more so than hiring someone through the labour market.’  What it does mean, however, is that Redemption has to hold itself to a higher standard.  ‘Our product has to be amazing, even better than the competition,’ says Dubiel . ‘We couldn’t be shouting from our high horse and then be serving up bad coffee.’ 


redemptionroasters.com

Full Court Press, Bristol

 

Experience working with big chains enabled Mat North to turn Full Court Press into one of Bristol’s best-loved independents. 

 

You got your start as a barista at Caffè Nero. What did you learn from that experience?

 

‘Working for any of the big chains is a real education; it gave me an excellent grounding in efficiencies and good financial practices. Chains have systems for literally everything – they are at the point where they can measure and quantify all of the basics, like greetings, wait times, wastage etc, so they can focus on other things.  They know just how easy it is to lose a customer, so these systems allow the staff to focus on service to avoid this happening.’ 

 

Bristol is renowned for its food and drink culture. How has the local scene changed since you started Full Court Press?

 

‘When we opened six years ago we were only the third of the new wave of shops to open in Bristol. The speciality scene only really arrived in Bristol in late 2012, so what’s been amazing is the rate of change, both in quality and offering. We’ve seen explosions of quality independent bakers, breweries, distilleries, cocktail bars and, of course, coffee shops. It’s a very exciting time to be involved.’


How do you make an impression in such  a competitive market? 

 

‘If you don’t have a USP, then branding and look really comes to the fore, though this can be a problem as it leads to homogeneity of both look and offer – something perpetuated by Pinterest, Instagram etc. In this situation it’s all about location and service.  What we’ve done at FCP is aim for the very top of the quality sector of the market.  Our offer is more akin to a wine bar than it is to a traditional café, with new coffees to try each week and a very limited food offering.’ 


What have independent cafés brought to coffee culture in the UK?


‘Variety.  Ostensibly we all serve the same product, but it’s easy to see that there are a myriad ways to present it.  Thankfully, there are enough customers that fall on either side of the fence to keep both independents and chains in business.’ 

 

 

Full Court Press
Full Court Press

Peckham - A Day well spent

 

Peckham is having a moment.  Packed with small, characterful independent businesses, and with a vibrant, village-like vibe, it makes shopping fun – and even more so when you know that you get rewarded for purchases made on your American Express Card.  So, next time you’re buying that amazing dry-aged sirloin at Flock and Herd and a bottle of natural wine from General Store for dinner with friends, remember that you’ll be getting even more for your everyday spending.   If that’s piqued your interest, then read on to see how one Cardmember was able to earn rewards whilst browsing her favourite local merchants on Bellenden Road. 

General Store, Peckham

10am Coffee and croissant

 

'I like to start my day at General Store, where I’ll usually order a coffee and pastry to kick off my morning. This is also a great place to pick up groceries such as fresh pasta, condiments and wine, perfect for when I’m throwing a dinner party for friends.’

Form SE15, Peckham

2pm Jacket required

 

‘My boyfriend is looking for a jacket to wear to my friend’s birthday dinner tonight, so we head a couple of doors down to Form SE15, which has a great range of both men and women’s clothing and accessories. I find that staying local is a much more relaxed way to browse for clothes than going into town, and the staff are so helpful and knowledgeable - it’s defi-nitely one of my favourite go-to places.’

The Begging Bowl, Peckham

7.30pm Birthday treat

 

'Tonight, we’re celebrating my friend’s birthday over some Thai street food at our amazing neighbourhood restaurant, The Begging Bowl. As a treat, her boyfriend is surprising her with flights to India which will make her evening as it’s been on her wish list for years! Hope they pick me up a souvenir.’

Steamer, 8 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE1 4BY

Steamer

Qin He and her husband moved to London around 13 years ago from south China. They both worked in Chinatown making dumplings and dim sum before starting their own business, Steamer, four years ago.

 

The Chinese street-food kiosk, located between Peckham Rye Station and Rye Lane, serves Chinese BBQ pork buns and prawn stir-fry noodles among other popular dishes which people queue up seven days a week for. 

Steamer

‘We’re looking to change our menu soon to include more sushi and cold dishes,’ says Qin He.

 

‘We want to start serving more salads with ingredients like black fungus, seaweed and cucumber.’ 

 

 

Alpha Shadows, C1 Bussey Building, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN

Alpha Shadows

Alpha Shadows likes doing things its own way. The store is hidden away on the first floor of Peckham’s Bussey Building and, for customers who don’t know it’s there, it can be pretty hard to find.  Inside there’s an oasis of clothing brands from South Korea and the US, but most are from  

Alpha Shadows

Japan, including Eastlogue, Niuhans and Fujito. ‘Around 90% of our brands are Japanese,’ says founder Tom Piercy, ‘some of which you almost definitely won’t see anywhere else outside of Japan.

 

While I don’t exclusively look for hard-to-find brands, they definitely appeal to customers.’  

Alpha Shadows

 When Piercy founded the store in 2015, he wanted to make it as different as possible from other independent fashion retailers.  ‘Because the store is in Peckham, which for some people living north of the river is out of the way, the product has to be a bit special to make people want to come here.’ 

Alpha Shadows

Alpha Shadows is the only place in London to stock Norbit by Hiroshi Nozawa.  ‘Soon we’ll have one of the brand’s fishing jackets in stock,’ says Piercy.  ‘It has oversized pockets and is mixed with quite a technical type of nylon.  It’s a really modern take on heritage.’ 

Sarah Willingham, interior inspiration

 

If you’re looking to inject some fresh style into your home then have you thought about visiting the local small businesses in your area?  Packed full of unique, one of a kind items, you’ll also benefit from the expertise and passion of the people who run them.

 

We sent our Shop Small Ambassador, Sarah Willingham out and about to see first hand how shopping small can fuel your interior inspiration.

 

 

Growing up

 

Forest, Arch 133 Deptford Market Yard, London

Forest, London
Forest, London

A visit to Forest, where the shelves of its East Dulwich and Deptford stores spill over with exotic ferns, ivy and jungle climbers, shows how indoor plants have become big business.  Forest is owned and operated by mother-and-daughter team Fran and Alice Bailey, who started the company in 2013 as a spin-off from Fran’s original floristry business, The Fresh Flower Company.‘I opened Forest just one street down from our East Dulwich flower shop,’ says Fran. ‘Originally the space was used as a combined flower workshop and plant shop. I had noticed that the popularity of houseplants was on the rise again, and soon the plants took over and the florist had to move out!’


The selection at Forest has since grown beyond plants to include homeware, beauty and lifestyle products – Aesop and Nkuku among them – along with craft classes in candle-making, flower arranging, macramé, terrarium building and calligraphy.  Fran’s passion and DNA runs through the business. ‘I grew up on a cut-flower nursery where, as a child, I often worked with my brothers, helping out in the greenhouses,’ she explains. ‘My parents encouraged my love of horticulture, but I never expected my daughters to join my business. I am so glad of our collaboration – they’ve brought a fresh perspective to the business and been instrumental in our expansion, finding unusual plants, sourcing new brands and spotting trends.'


The success of Forest tallies with that of other thriving plant shops in London and other cities, as a new generation of urban dwellers seek a green fix, possibly as an antidote to living among concrete and the pressures of the digital age.  ‘Houseplants make us happier and healthier,’ affirms Fran.  ‘Science shows they purify the air in our homes, lift our mood and reduce stress levels.’ 

 

A visit to the Forest stores feels serene, and is as much about getting design and lifestyle inspiration as it is a retail experience, with staff on hand to give advice and many customers converting to workshop attendees.  ‘People want to learn how to display and care for their plants, how to propagate to increase their stock and watch them thrive,’ says Fran. ‘Knowing about our plants increases our enjoyment of them.'

 

forest.london


Forest's top 3 tips for potting a plant

Top 3 tips for potting a plant

1. Buy a potting mix. You can get a soil mixture from a store which should include fertiliser, peat moss and organic soil. 

Top 3 tips for potting a plant

2. Assign one plant per pot to avoid overcrowding.  Make sure you choose a plant that doesn’t need too much sunshine. 

Top 3 tips for potting a plant

3. Fill the pot to about an inch from the top, and lightly press down the soil to eliminate any air pockets. Water regularly. 

Food Fast

 

  27.Elliott's, 27 Sciennes Rd, Edinburgh EH9 1NX

Roast Tomato Orzo

A fresh and simple recipe for spring, packed with Mediterranean flavours for that first al fresco meal of the season.

 

Healthy eating is often one of the first things to go when you’re pulling the kind of hours that setting up a new business demands.  Jessica Elliott Dennison, founder of 27.Elliott’s, a neighbourhood café and supper club space in the heart of Edinburgh, has proven that healthy eating doesn’t have to be overly time consuming.

 

She took some time out of prepping fresh pasta for the evening’s service to give Shop Small an exclusive recipe for roast tomato orzo from her book Salad Feasts. ‘Your oven does all the hard work here, turning the tomatoes all burnished, sticky and intensely sweet,’ says Jessica of the dish. ‘And like most roast tomato dishes, the flavours get even better with time, o this is a nice option if you need to make something hearty in advance.’

 

A scattering of dukkah brings a smoky, spiced crunch to the silky orzo pasta. Check out Dennison’s book for a homemade version of this versatile spice and nut-based condiment, which you can make and store in bulk to use for future feasts.

 

27elliotts.com

The Pilgrim

Roast tomato orzo

Serves 4 (Prep time 25 minutes)

 

  • 600g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • Small bunch thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes(optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 300g orzo
  • large bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp dukkah (optional)

1 — Preheat oven to 220C and bring a medium pan of water to the boil. 

 

2 — Slice the tomatoes, some in halves, some in quarters, then add to a large roasting tray in a single layer. Scatter over the thyme leaves and add the oil, salt, pepper, chilli flakes (if using), cumin and garlic cloves. Gently toss and roast for 15 mins. Remove and reserve the garlic, then roast the tomatoes for a further 5 minutes.

 

3 — Meanwhile, add the orzo to the boiling water (according to the packet instructions, 8-10 minutes for al dente). Refresh under cold water, then drain.

 

 4 — Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh into the roasting tray. Using a fork, mash the garlic and half the tomatoes into a chunky pulp. Add the cooked orzo to the tray, then peel in all the zest and squeeze in the juice of half the lemon; add more to taste. Scatter over the parsley, then stir everything together. Transfer to a large platter, scatter over the dukkah, and serve.

 

Recipe extracted from Salad Feasts by Jessica Elliott Dennison (Hardie Grant, £16.99).

The round up.

 

 A selection of favourite stockists, curated by Courier.

Allpress Café

Allpress Café

58 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP

 

Diogenes the Dog

Diogenes the Dog

96 Rodney Road, EC2A 3QE

 

Huckle the Barber

Huckle the Barber

55 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB

 

Brickwood and Bread

Brickwood and Bread

21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN

 

Franklins Farm Shop

Franklins Farm Shop

155 Lordship lane, SE22 8HX

 

Labour and Wait

Labour and Wait

85 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ

 

Couverture and Garbstore

Couverture and Garbstore

188 Kensington Park Road, W11 2ES

 

Goodhood Store

Goodhood Store

151 Curtain Road, EC2A 3QE

 

Rough Trade West

Rough Trade West

130 Talbot Road, W11 1JA

 

Dawson Flowers

Dawson Flowers

43 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3NG

 

Hoxton Holborn

Hoxton Holborn

199-206 High Holborn, WC1V 7BD

 

Town Hall Hotel

Town Hall Hotel

Patriot Square, E2 9NF

 

NOT YET A CARDMEMBER?

 

Find the right Card for you.

 

Shown below are some of our most popular Cards, you can browse our full range here

 

Check your eligibility for a Card here

American Express is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

American Express has a long history of backing high streets across the UK, which is why it is dedicated to helping the small businesses, and people behind them, to thrive.

Don't do business without it.

Understanding that we can all achieve more in business if someone has our back, American Express is there to support its customers in big ways and small. 


From actively encouraging people to shop small, alongside its role as founder and principal supporter of Small Business Saturday in the UK – now in its seventh year, through to helping small businesses manage their finances or providing peace of mind. American Express is always on hand as a source of helpful advice and inspiration.

 

Understanding that small businesses and the people that run them have a unique place in local communities across the UK, American Express wants to shine a light on the benefits of shopping small.  From the expertise offered through to the feeling of being known when ordering the ‘usual,’ American Express will help to deliver loyal, repeat customers who over time can become your advocates. 

Drive customers to your door.

 

We know that word of mouth and recommendations can be vital in helping small businesses to get recognised. That’s why our map is full of small shops across the UK to help businesses, like yours, get discovered. 


Not only will you benefit from increased brand awareness amongst a high value, loyal audience that can help your business thrive, but by being part of the map and other complimentary marketing initiatives from American Express, Cardmembers will know they are able to use their Card in store.

 

Use the button below to check and updated your business address details on the map.

The map is best viewed in Google Chrome.

 

 

Shop Small Edit.

 

If you’re in need of some inspiration or would benefit from a different perspective on a problem you may be experiencing, then why not take a look at our Shop Small magazine content that we've created in partnership with Courier; a leading voice in the small business and entrepreneur sector.


We’ve selected some of our favourite articles from the magazine below, packed full of plenty of tips, insights and helpful information to help your business thrive. So whether you are just starting out, or a well-established local, we hope you agree there’s something for everyone.

Our round up of trends for Spring 2019

 

From the rise of mezcal to the popularity of recipe boxes, big businesses often find inspiration for new products from the independents.  In fact, most main-stream retail trends, if you look closely, begin small – it’s the kind of trickle-up effect we all benefit from.  And it’s easy to get excited about shopping small when the UK’s independent food, drink and retail scene is this impressive. From foraged chutneys to a former coal depot emerging like a phoenix from the ashes, here’s our round-up of all the trends to watch out for among the indies in Spring 2019.

DIY High

DIY High

 

In times of economic crisis or uncertainty, people seek self-sustaining skills – like cooking and sewing – that will help them in the long-term. Being able to bake a loaf of bread from scratch rather than buy it from a shop feels good because it demonstrates frugality and self-reliance – hence the success of TV shows like The Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee shortly after.

 

Whether it’s dabbling with modern floristry techniques at The Flower Bar and School or learning how to punch needle art at SMUG in Camden Passage, DIY workshops are the new going out. Swap Friday drinks for post-work welding class and you might even meet new pals while you’re at it. 

We drive customers to your door
To give a little something back, we encourage our Cardmembers to Shop Small with local businesses each year.  When they spend £10 or more at a participating small business from 1-16 December 2018, they get a £5 credit.
Best of all, it costs nothing for you to take part.  If your business is eligible, you will have been contacted by us and automatically enrolled.  Your business will be displayed on the Shop Small map and Cardmembers will be able to redeem their offer when they spend £10 or more in your store from 1-16 December 2016 (at no cost to you).

 

Sarah Willingham's - top three tips for success


‘CREATIVE WORKSHOPS are becoming more popular than ever,’ reveals Sarah Willingham, American Express’ Shop Small ambassador.  ‘It’s a great way for small independent businesses to attract customers and generate an added boost to their profits. People love learning something new and are increasingly looking for an experience beyond just buying a product.  Running a workshop is a lovely add-on and really maximises the return on the company’s assets.’ If you’re a small business owner and the thought of introducing a workshop appeals to you, then here are Sarah’s top 3 tips for success:


1. Don’t be afraid of giving away your magic

You’ll be making people appreciate and respect your expertise, not giving away your trade secrets.  It lets you share your passion and feel rewarded while you are doing so. 


2. Marketing is essential

You need to tell people what you’re doing.  Put a sign outside, tease people on your social media channels and reward your existing customers for spreading the word, such as giving them a discount if they return with friends. 


3. Think about the experience

Make it as fun, as interactive and as memorable as possible, because ultimately, your customers are your best marketeers.  Keep the workshops different enough so that customers feel they can keep coming back to build on existing skills or learn new ones.

Sarah  Willingham
Switch up Kitchens

Switch up Kitchens

 

Tech companies have long operated in co-working spaces - a study by Cushman & Wakefield found that central London had 2.5 million sq ft of lettings signed for flexible workspaces in 2017, a 190% increase on the previous year - but there’s no equivalent for the food and drink industry.  Until sisters Gini and Ecci Newton opened Karma Kitchen in October 2018.  Businesses like Pip and Nut and Island Poke rent the east London workspace in 8 or 16-hour shifts, after which they clean up and clock off.  With discounted Quiqup couriers and access to equipment without having to maintain it, it’s a radical new way to produce. 

 

We drive customers to your door
To give a little something back, we encourage our Cardmembers to Shop Small with local businesses each year.  When they spend £10 or more at a participating small business from 1-16 December 2018, they get a £5 credit.
Best of all, it costs nothing for you to take part.  If your business is eligible, you will have been contacted by us and automatically enrolled.  Your business will be displayed on the Shop Small map and Cardmembers will be able to redeem their offer when they spend £10 or more in your store from 1-16 December 2016 (at no cost to you).

Sager and Wilde wine bar - in Good Spirits

An image of Michael Sager
An image of Mezcal

Mezcal - or agave distillate - is a complex spirit that’s been quietly igniting the London bar scene.  With import duty on the drink being much higher than in continental Europe or the US, it’s been slow to penetrate the British market but Michael Sager, director of Sager + Wilde wine bar, is convinced 2019 could be the year it breaks through to retail too.  “The next logical thing for a consumer to say is why would I have tequila that’s industrially produced, if I can have an artisanal product with a story,” he explains, speaking from a research trip in Paris, where mezcal has been a cocktail bar mainstay for years. Now head of independent spirits label El Destilado, which he set up with business partners Marcis Dzelzainis and East London Liquor Company founder Alex Wolpert, we grabbed five minutes to talk distillates...


Why did you start with mezcal?  “Provenance is important and for me, there’s no other spirit that embraces this like mezcal. It’s truly artisanal.  We’ve had such a strong response - perhaps because we’re all barmen and restaurateurs doing this - but also because British drinkers love clear spirits and tequila has sort of paved the way for mezcal. People want to try new things, despite the sometimes prohibitive price point.”


What’s the story of the mezcal bottle design?  “We wanted pure transparency, because this spirit is all about who makes it, where it comes from and how it’s made.  I sent some design references like Byredo and Aesop to Charlie McKay, who helped us develop our restaurant Fare. It only took four or five meetings - he just gets us.  We wanted it to stand out on a back bar or shelf.”

 

What’s next?  “Mezcal’s not financially viable yet because it’s made in such small amounts, so we’re working on 16 expressions of uncertified agave distillates and three sugar cane distillates, including oaxacan white rum and pineapple eau de vie.  We want to rediscover niche spirits and bring them to the people who care.” 

 

We shine a spotlight on La Fromagerie, 2-6 Moxon Street, London, UK

La Fromagerie, image of cheeses for sale
La Fromagerie

“In the early days, it was just a great big adventure...”

Patricia Michelson on starting and growing her cheese business in London.

 

‘I fell in love with cheese while I was skiing,’ reveals Patricia Michel-son. ‘I was in Meribel, I met the local cheesemaker and ended up bringing a 38kg wheel of Beaufort back with me and storing it in my garden shed for the next 3 months!  That was how this whole thing started.  ’The ‘thing’ Michelson is referring to is La Fromagerie, her London-based speciality cheese business, founded 28 years ago.  From humble beginnings as a Camden Lock market stall, the business has gone from strength to strength, and is now made up of three bricks-and-mortar stores and a thriving online business that ships cheese all over the world. 


The most recently opened space is in Bloomsbury – a sleek but characterful wine bar with velvet chairs, mood lighting and marble countertops – but it’s in the Marylebone store, with its huge cheese room off to the side, that Michelson feels most at home.  Here, surrounded by wooden shelves creaking with condiments, ceramics, selected pickles and preserves, she recalls the early vision that drove her.  ‘I had a yearning to have a shop that was all about engaging with customers and championing small independent producers,’ she recalls. ‘You know – the places you often don’t see unless you find yourself in a mountain village or a little market somewhere.  I was told I wouldn’t make it in business because I was too niche, but I really wanted customers to feel they were somewhere they could get involved and learn something.  ’For the first few years Michelson worked alone, serving cheese from a table in the middle of a tiny shop in Highbury and steadily building her network of producers across Europe and beyond. In time, having caught the attention of top restaurants and renowned chefs, she moved across the street to bigger premises. 

 

‘In the early days, it was just a great adventure and we didn’t even consider different payment methods,’ she remembers. ‘But that changed when we moved to our Highbury shop.’  As increasing numbers of customers started to flow through the door, Michelson knew she needed to look at her business processes and payment systems, and that’s when she started accepting American Express. It was also the natural point to start thinking about expanding the product range, but to do this the business needed to increase its cashflow capabilities.  As an American Express Business Cardmember, Michelson was able to keep cash in the business longer, which enabled her to invest in new products to grow the business while still being able to manage company expenses. Today, La Fromagerie stocks some 250 artisanal cheeses, along with bread, wine, fruit and vegetables, condiments and kitchenware – most of it still individually selected by Michelson at source.  It’s all part of her value system: understand your product, care about its provenance and provide your customer with a deeply personal experience.

 

 

lafromagerie.co.uk

La Fromagerie
La Fromagerie, image of vegetables for sale

Cub, 153 Hoxton Street, London

 

When Ryan Chetiyawardana joined forces with Doug McMaster, the owner and chef of zero-waste Brighton restaurant Silo, the result was a dining experience like no other - big on flavour and sustainable credentials.


London cocktail guru Ryan Chetiyawardana is known for constantly evolving his businesses. After first making his name with White Lyan (now Super Lyan, relocated to Amsterdam) and then Dandelyan, which gained top honours at The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018, Cub was launched just over a year ago in the heart of Hoxton as a ‘drinks-led dining experience’ that is strong on sustainability and experimentation.Even in fast-paced London, Chetiyawardana’s enthusiasm for change is astonishing, but so far, the much-lauded Cub - and his collaboration with McMaster - appears set to continue. We caught up with Chetiyawardana to talk sustainability and how the pair came together to create their cocktail restaurant.

Cub's Ryan Chetiyawardana

What’s the most surprising thing about dining at Cub?

 

‘A lot of the conversations around sustainability are very heavy, and often preachy. We wanted to show that people can have a great time, have a won-derful product and do good for the environment.  I think a lot of people are surprised that it’s veggie and accidentally vegan most of the time, too.’

 

How did you and Doug come to work together?

 

‘White Lyan and Silo opened very close together, and Doug and I were suddenly thrust into the same circles (and articles) discussing waste. But I had actually been following Doug's work since he was in Australia.

Cub's, set menu dish

When I took the Lyan team down for the first Christmas party, Silo blew us away, and Doug was clearly an exceptional spirit. When we did our Wine Not Wine pop-up in 2014, it was an obvious choice to pair with him, and we’ve been friends since. When it came to discussing Cub, it was only with Doug in mind.’

 

Have you noticed an uptick in diners’ interest in provenance in recent years?

 

‘Hugely so! It’s wonderful to see the rise in interest across the board. I think in recent years people have started to demand more information and authenticity.  Conscientious practice doesn’t need to be about sacrifice, and people are now able to buy with a 

Urban Compost sign

much better conscience while still getting delicious, honest and exciting things.’

 

Is doing things sustainably a thread through all you do?

 

‘It’s always been important to me personally, and it was certainly a guiding pillar of the business. We’re not perfect, and there are some parts where we’re yet to explore it more thoroughly, but it’s certainly inherent to our outlook.’

 

What are some of the key challenges of setting those kind of standards for yourself?'

 

There are a lot of established systems that are easy to blindly accept, but asking the questions 

Cub's Doug McMaster

and demanding a better approach forces some amazing changes.  It’s also important not to punish yourself along the way if you’re not meeting your goals as quickly as you hoped - every little change helps.

 

Is there any food that’s impossible  to match a drink to?


‘I’m yet to find one!’

Neat Nutrition

Neat Nutrition
Neat Nutrition

It can be hard to make waves in the competitive world of e-commerce, but backed by friends and family and with an ethical approach, former Great Britain swimmers and Neat Nutrition founders Lee Forster and Charlie Turner have taken their online protein powder business into the fast lane.

 

There are a lot of dietary supplements out there. But in 2015 you saw a gap…

 

CHARLIE: ‘Yep. We were professional athletes and swam for Great Britain for many years, but after retiring we found ourselves surrounded by a new wave of weekend triathletes, runners and cyclists – and we could see that many of the nutritional supplements they were buying weren’t up to scratch.’

 

Who supported you in the early stages of setting up the business?

 

LEE: ‘We had amazing support from all our friends and family – everything from offering us investment to just helping us to pack boxes – all of which allowed us to keep pushing the business forward until we secured our first round of investment in June 2018.’

 

In what other ways were you given backing?

 

LEE: ‘American Express really helped us with the practical side of things when we first set up the business. They supported us by helping us sort out our cashflow.  We needed to recoup revenue before having to pay for out-goings like product stock and website costs.  American Express gave us their backing so we could manage our business better.’

 

What are the biggest trends you’ve seen since starting up?

 

LEE: ‘Vegetarianism, veganism and all-natural products going main-stream.  Our biggest flagship product when welaunched was our vegan product which has since gone from strength to strength.’

 

How do you back others in and around the business?

 

LEE: ‘Ethics and social sustainability are big for us, whether that’s in ourpackaging and recyclable materials or the jobs we create within our own business.  But we also look at backing from a community perspective – for example, by giving a percentage of profit from every bag sold to SportsAid, which supports young athletes who perhaps don’t have the financial opportunities to pursue their sport. It starts at home.   If you look after your team in an ethical, sustainable way, you can scale up from there.’

 

neat-nutrition.com

 

Maya Magal, London

Maya Magal
Maya Magal

For Maya Magal, who expanded her jewellery business into some of the most sought-after retail spaces in London in less than half a year, the answer has been a little luck, team support, and a lot of communication.   ‘The third store really wasn’t planned,’ says Magal of her recently opened eponymous King’s Cross boutique.  It was an opportunity that came up at Coal Drops Yard. They offered me a space after seeing the hard work I’d put into my first two stores.’  Magal, whose contemporary designs are all about everyday luxury, has always been keen to imbue her stores with a sense of accessibility, and the King’s Cross outlet is no exception, with its bright gold touches and plants dotted around.

 

Having started out in Hatton Garden, she says she was keen to move into something more contemporary.   ‘We’ve got a lot of jewellery out on display, so customers can choose their own without having to ask the sales assistant if they don’t want to.’  The King’s Cross opening came hard on the heels of her expansion to Marylebone from her original Islington store, and with a steep learning curve.   ‘We went from a team of four or five to over fifteen,’ says Magal.  ‘Things got easier and harder with each store.  With the first I had no kind of proof that I could run a viable shop, but with the second and third I had that, along with the customers and the data behind me.’

 

What got harder, she says, was the day-to-day stuff, such as juggling stock and staff and learning how to run three teams.  ‘When you’re opening a new store and you’ve got big construction projects going on, which take up all your time, energy and focus, you can lose sight of running the business,’ says Magal.  Something that’s helped has been introducing Monday meetings which everyone in the company joins in.  ‘We sit down and discuss what we’ve done that week and what’s coming up, just to help with communication and support each other,’ she says.   ‘It’s a work in progress, and the key is flexibility.’

 

mayamagal.co.uk

Maya shares her tips for operating a boutique size high street business.

Maya Magal

Customer Engagement

 

‘I much prefer having my customers in front of me.  Once the business got going, there was never really a time I didn’t consider having a bricks and mortar store. In an age when everyone is going digital, it’s very difficult to compete online, and besides we didn’t have that experience, so it made sense to focus on what we’re good at.’ 

Maya Magal

Maintaining control 

 

‘We say we are everyday luxury because we offer individualistic, affordable designs. Having my own store means we can control our prices.’

Maya Magal

Future moves

 

‘Before opening in a new location, I’d definitely consider testing the area and market with a pop-up.  It’s something I haven’t done so far as things have happened so fast, and I’m quite impulsive, but I can certainly see it would be a good idea in the future.’

The Plant Room, Brighton

The Plant Room
The Plant Room

As Brighton’s coffee scene continues to evolve, speciality cafés such as The Plant Room are holding their own thanks to a core base of increasingly discerning customers.  For Alexx McKendry, owner of Brighton’s The Plant Room, the answer to building a loyal customer base lies in not obsessing about what others are doing. ‘Coffee shops come and go all the time in Brighton,’ he says.  ‘But the way I look at it, it’s about having a good product, good service and a good space – it’s that perfect golden triangle of things you need to get right to keep customers coming back. So, we focus on what we do and try not to worry about the rest.’  McKendry operates three sites of The Plant Room in Brighton and Hove, each offering Allpress coffee and vegetarian and vegan snacks in bright contemporary spaces filled with, yes, plants.

 

For McKendry, who sees coffee shops as the new ‘third spaces’ – superseding shopping centres or pubs as a place for people to meet and socialise – the key is ensuring that customers feel they have a connection to a space.  ‘Coffee shops should make you want to spend time there,’ he says. ‘We’re not trying to force people to spend money, we’re not trying to upsell, we’re just trying to create a relaxing environment and great coffee, and the rest will follow.’

 

Brighton’s café scene has been booming for more than a decade.   According to Caffeine Magazine, the city’s residents drink more coffee per capita than anywhere else in the UK, including London, and the industry is worth some £55 million, with the number of coffee shops having doubled over the past decade.  But while speciality cafés are a big part of that growth, McKendry says the chains exert a powerful influence over customer expectations.  ‘It’s interesting to see how they affect what people ask for in the independents,’  he says.  ‘Because The Plant Room has a strong core base of veggie and vegan customers, we offer some really good dairy alternatives – we’ve got oat milk from Minor Figures in East Dulwich and Bonsoy, a great-quality Australian soy milk. 

 

Cafés such as The Plant Room focus on keeping standards high, and building loyalty through quality.  ‘I do think there’s always going to be space for all because coffee shops have a really small catchment,’ says McKendry.  ‘If you think about your favourites, they’re probably near your home, on your way to work or near somewhere you visit often.  Realistically, how we make our money is through those people who come in time and time again.’ 


theplantroomcoffee.com

Peckham’s transformation into a go-to destination for young creatives has made it one of the most aesthetically varied, culturally mixed and unique places in London. The streets surrounding Rye Lane and Bellenden Road are some of the most popular in the area, treading a happy line between exclusive and egalitarian; buzzing go-to galleries, bars and restaurants operating alongside the kinds of long-standing businesses that gave the area its character in the first place. Here’s a small selection of some the best. 

 

 

The Framing Room, Peckham

The Framing Room

At his bespoke framing shop just south of Peckham Rye, Jacob Everett and his two-strong team produce around 40 frames a week.  Clients range from individuals walking in off the street to the William Morris Gallery and Tate Britain – for whom they’ve produced large-scale frames for works by some of the great pre-Raphaelites such as Edward Burne-Jones. 

The Framing Room

Everett grew up in nearby New Cross and says Peckham is a special place to start a company because of the friendly and lively dynamic between all of the local businesses.  ‘A lot of my schoolmates have started their own small businesses in the area and we all support and help each other out.’ says Everett.  

The Framing Room

 No two frames are ever the same. ‘In fact,’ says Everett, ‘I enjoy the unconventional. 

 

Feel free to come in and ask for something hexagonal. Frames don’t have to be square.  And no project is too big or too small.’ 

Flock and Herd, 155 Bellenden Road, SE15 4DH

Flock and Herd

In recent years, the increase in meat-free lifestyles and consumer mindfulness has meant independent butcheries have had to up their game.   Opened on Bellenden Road in 2012 by Charlie Shaw, formerly of Ginger Pig, Flock and Herd is no different.

Flock and Herd

The team prepare whole free-range animals on-site, producing a number of items including porchetta and bacon alongside their sausages - ensuring that nothing is wasted. Flock and Herd source its animals from some of the bestfarms across the UK and are the only butchery in London to supply lamb from Devon’s Otter Valley Farm. 

Flock and Herd

‘Wild garlic is just coming back into season,’ says butcher and general manager Lyle Wheeler. ‘For spring, we’ll start using it in our spiced pork and gluten-free sausages.’ 

Made of Dough, 182 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW

Made of Dough

After a two-year pop-up residency in the shipping containers that make up Pop Brixton, Made of Dough opened its first bricks and mortar spot on Bellenden Road in 2015.  Interiors are airy, with a stylish marble bar.  ‘We took over a pizza restaurant that wasn’t working and persuaded the owners to let us take the site off them but keep the equipment,’ says Ed Sandeman, who is one of three founders.

Made of Dough

‘None of us were chefs,’ he goes on. ‘But I’m second-generation Spanish, and one of the other founders is second-generation Italian.  We simply thought, if we combined the kinds of food we love from our upbringing and made one perfect thing, it would be pizza.’   Made of Dough’s signature pizzas are made with a simple lean dough recipe using a 60-hour fermentation process and topped with the best produce, which is often sourced locally.

Made of Dough

‘The people round here like to support local business,’ says Sandeman, ‘so we try to stick to that ethos ourselves.’   ‘Over spring, we’ll be making more of our special pizzas with potato and Italian pork and fennel sausage, which we get from Flock and Herd, directly across the road,’ says Sandeman. 

Sarah Willingham, insights and tips

 

We can all achieve more in business if someone has our back.

 

That’s why we’ve been working with Shop Small Ambassador and Entrepreneur, Sarah Willingham to offer some tips and insights about attracting customers and tapping into consumer trends to add value and revenue to your business.

The round up.

 

 A selection of favourite stockists, curated by Courier.

Allpress Café

Allpress Café

58 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP

 

Diogenes the Dog

Diogenes the Dog

96 Rodney Road, EC2A 3QE

 

Huckle the Barber

Huckle the Barber

55 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB

 

Brickwood and Bread

Brickwood and Bread

21-23 Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN

 

Franklins Farm Shop

Franklins Farm Shop

155 Lordship lane, SE22 8HX

 

Labour and Wait

Labour and Wait

85 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ

 

Couverture and Garbstore

Couverture and Garbstore

188 Kensington Park Road, W11 2ES

 

Goodhood Store

Goodhood Store

151 Curtain Road, EC2A 3QE

 

Rough Trade West

Rough Trade West

130 Talbot Road, W11 1JA

 

Dawson Flowers

Dawson Flowers

43 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3NG

 

Hoxton Holborn

Hoxton Holborn

199-206 High Holborn, WC1V 7BD

 

Town Hall Hotel

Town Hall Hotel

Patriot Square, E2 9NF

 

 Start accepting American Express Cards

 

Don't take American Express?  Apply now to accept our Cards

Refer a fellow business owner

 

 

Successfully referring fellow business owners is an easy way to earn bonus rewards.

Not yet a Business Cardmember?

 

 

American Express offers a range of Business Cards with a choice of benefits and rewards.

American Express is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.