Independent businesses you can support in Southampton

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It goes without saying that the last 18 months have been difficult for everyone, especially for the self-employed and small business owners.

Many of these businesses rely on loyal customer support, but have been restricted in the past year due to lockdowns imposed by the coronavirus.

A key way to show your support for smaller brands is to forgo well-known and bigger stores and put your money into local talent, especially during the upcoming holiday season.

We’ve put together a list of independent traders in Southampton that you should support.

WJ French & Fils

Photo: WJ French & Son

This Bedford Place-based company has served the Southampton community for over 200 years.

WJ French & Son has been trading in Southampton since 1803 and is now in the hands of the eighth generation of the French family. The beloved shoe store has a wide range of footwear for all ages and is widely regarded as a downtown gem.

It specializes in fitting and repairing quality shoes for adults and children and is aimed at people with narrow and wide feet.

WJ French offers brands such as Amalfi, Birkenstock, Clarks, Hush Puppies and many more.

The boutique is open from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Itchen Fruit & Farm Shop

Daily Echo: Photo: Itchen Fruit & Farm ShopPhoto: Itchen Fruit & Farm Shop

Rub yourself in while visiting a supermarket – shop at Itchen Fruit & Farm Shop in Hamble Lane, near Southampton.

This store provides wholesale and retail of fruits and vegetables, meat and artisan bread delivered daily.

All the eggs available in the shop are locally sourced and free-range.

Seasonal items are also typically on offer, with the shop currently stocking a variety of pumpkins, ready for Halloween.

Frédéric chocolates

Daily Echo: Photo: Fredericks ChocolatesPhoto: Fredericks Chocolates

If you or someone you know has a sweet tooth, this downtown boutique is for you.

The family business of The Marlands sells a plethora of chocolates, but also offers chocolate workshops and has an in-store cafe.

Despite what the name suggests, Fredericks Chocolates doesn’t just offer chocolate, it also offers award-winning vanilla fudge and a burst of lemon.

There is a dedicated American section, namely Fred’s American Fix, and a sweet section, Fred’s Sweetie Fix.

Fredericks is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Bassett Uptons

Daily Echo: Photo: Bassett's UptonsPhoto: Bassett’s Uptons

Uptons of Bassett is first and foremost a butcher’s shop, but also caters to coffee and breakfast lovers.

Butchers on Winchester Road emphasize local outdoor produce that addresses health and animal concerns.

Owner Simon Broadribb took over the store in 1994 and the store has since been recognized in national and regional competitions.

Customers can enjoy turkey (perfect for Christmas), pork, ham, pies, roast beef and more.

The merchant chip

Daily Echo: One of The Mercantile Flea traders One of the merchants of The Mercantile Flea

This large retail store is a new addition to Bitterne and is home to a wide variety of individual merchants selling handmade goods, vintage and retro items, antiques, collectibles and more.

From DIY kits, handmade jewelry, to vintage clothing and antique decor, there is something for everyone.

There’s also a cafe that serves delicious coffee, a wine bar, and multi-purpose event space, plus free parking.

The Mercantile Flea is open seven days a week.

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