With Christmas fast approaching it can be easy to dismiss independent businesses and turn to large chains when hunting for deals.

As part of small Business Saturday Nottingham City Council, Nottingham BID and the Creative Quarter Company are encouraging people to shop local.

To celebrate the country-wide campaign Debbie Bryan, winner of Nottingham’s Best Independent Business 2016, organised a free craft event at her Lace Market Tearoom.

The drop-in sessions, taught by staff, enabled customers to create their own Christmas decorations from Punch Card embellished with hand-stitching.

Monica Cano, 48, of Woodhall Road Nottingham said: “I love the idea of Debbie Bryan’s craft event, it brings the community together and gives youngsters something different to do.

“I always support small Businesses like Debbie’s because I really believe independent shops open people’s minds to be creative and become entrepreneurs.”

Debbie Bryan pictured outside her Lace Market shop
Debbie Bryan pictured outside her Lace Market shop

Debbie Bryan opened in St Mary’s Gate in 2009 selling handmade crafts, jewellery, accessories, heritage and gifts.

Over the last seven years the business has grown in more ways than one.

From starting out with just two employees Debbie Bryan is now run by a team of eight. The shop itself has also expanded, almost doubling in size since the opening of its tearoom in 2014.

Owner, Debbie Bryan said: “When we first opened there wasn’t many independents in the city but over the last couple of years, since our recovery from the recession, they seem to be popping up all over the place.

“Before we invested in the tearoom we tested the idea by doing pop-up tearooms. We attended the Light Night event in February and it proved really popular so we took the plunge and expanded the shop to build our own.”

Inside Debbie Bryan's shabby chic style tearoom
Inside Debbie Bryan’s shabby chic style tearoom

Debbie revamped what was originally her workshop towards the rear of the premises into a tearoom which seats approximately 30 people.

The newly refurbished area is now regularly used for hosting activities, including; breakfast clubs, wine tasting, craft events and afternoon tea parties.

Debbie said: “Being an independent business owner means I can have an idea and implement it 10 mins later, and because I’m in complete control there is no limit to my creativity.

“Small business Saturday is wonderful – it’s not just about one day a year it’s about raising awareness of small businesses across the board and the Council seem to have really pushed to promote it this year which is brilliant.”

Small Business Saturday is a national grass-roots, not-for-profit, campaign that encourages people to support small businesses in their communities.

Councillor Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for Business, Growth and Transport, said: “Nottingham has many great small businesses, and in particular the city’s independent retail offer is one of the best in the UK-so we’re urging all shoppers to consider these businesses when they come into the city centre to do their Christmas shopping.

“Whether you’re trying to find that unique Christmas gift, or taking a break to have something to eat and drink, the city’s small retailers have a lot to offer. If we support our smaller, local businesses we are also supporting jobs for local people and our city’s economy. Visiting small Businesses benefits everyone.”

The Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) provides on-going support to independent businesses in the city and it hosts an annual competition to find Nottingham’s Independent Business of the year.

Debbie said: “We were absolutely over the moon when we won Best Independent 2016, having annual awards and continuous support available really encourages people to open their own business and make a go of it.

“I feel like we have something really special here in Nottingham. The support networks like BID are fantastic and people seem to recognise that independents like us are what make Nottingham special.”

Debbie Bryan is open seven days a week, 11am-5:30pm and will be at the Nottingham Night market on Thursday, December 8 showcasing her homemade products.