Ten Incredible Small Businesses to Hit for All Your Shopping Needs This Festive Season - Concrete Playground

2021-12-25 02:34:23 By : Ms. Sherley Xu

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Make Concrete Playground yours with My Playground. Save and share your favourite picks and make plans to go out with friends. Registration is fast and free.

Make Concrete Playground yours with My Playground. Save and share your favourite picks and make plans to go out with friends. Registration is fast and free.

Make Concrete Playground yours with My Playground. Save and share your favourite picks and make plans to go out with friends. Registration is fast and free.

It's the busiest time of year for both our calendars and our wallets. Though the silly season may feel like fun and games, it's worth remembering that December is the most important month of the year for many small business owners. This year, even more so. After so much turbulence, the 2021 festive trading season is going to be critical for the recovery of the small businesses that make our local communities so special.

Between all the end-of-year parties and the excessive present buying, you're going to be doing a lot of shopping in the next few weeks. So, we've teamed up with American Express to highlight some excellent spots around Sydney to get what you need — and support a small business in the process. Whether you're looking for an out-of-the-box gift for your crazy aunt, a gripping read for your summer getaway or a next-level ham for the main event, you'll find 'em all at these stores, which all warmly welcome American Express.

With a thoughtful edit of clothes, home decor, furniture and beauty products on offer, you’re sure to find a gift for every person on your list in this Oxford Street boutique — plus a few things for yourself, too. The folks at Collector Store source products from across Australia and the globe. You’ll find everything from hemp and Himalayan pink salt body scrub from Dope Skin Co for your workmate and a speckled ceramic vase from Ned Collections for your mother-in-law, to funky floral board shorts from The Critical Slide Society for your little bro and incense sticks — with scents inspired by iconic Aussie locales including Noosa, Bells Beach and Margaret River — by The Scent Studio, perfect for that kooky aunt that’s always travelling.

This festive season, Collector Store has an amazing window installation that warrants its own visit. The display was designed by Vivid Sydney’s Festival Director Gill Minervini in collaboration with American Express to bring some jolly joy to the Paddington shopping strip.

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Bess Scott was born to be a florist. She comes from a line of flower growers and spent her childhood visiting the Sydney Flower Market. She opened the eponymous store on William Street in Paddington a couple of years ago. It’s filled predominantly with Australian natives grown by her father atop Mangrove Mountain on the Central Coast. Her arrangements are impactful — vibrantly hued and huge in size — and start at $100 a bunch.

Stop by to pick up a bouquet for whoever is hosting the big day — or to pick up those last few stocking fillers. Other artisanal wares can also be found here, including Just William Chocolates, hand-poured candles, jewellery and handmade ceramics.

There are a few scenarios in which you may find yourself needing to pay a visit to Fabbrica before Christmas. Found yourself saddled with a near-stranger for Kris Kringle and the only thing you know about them is that they like to eat and drink (because who doesn’t?)? This CBD retail space has a wall of mostly minimal intervention Italian wine to choose from, plus many shelves stacked with jars of yummy things — think chilli oil, fermented garlic, marinated tomatoes, house-made pangrattato and Cantabrian anchovies.

If you’ve been put in charge of the grazing board for an event, there’s plenty of top-notch cheese, bread and cured meats on offer. And if you’re planning ahead for that weird period at the end of December when you can’t be bothered cooking any more elaborate meals but you’re also sick of leftovers, stock up on a couple of the legendary pasta packs. The cacio e pepe spaghetti and slow-cooked wagyu with red wine ragu rigatoni are both winners.

It takes a certain skilled eye to uncover unique gems when gift shopping. If that doesn’t sound like you, make tracks to Home on Darley, where all the hard work is done for you. The Mona Vale store, owned and run by Craig and Dianne Williams, has built quite a reputation for sourcing and stocking amazing homewares, manchester and accessories from around the globe — as some 21,000 Instagram followers can attest to.

For your neverending gift list, you’ll find breezy linen loungewear, handcrafted mugs, whimsical kids toys and soaps and candles in every imaginable scent. It also has you sorted for summer essentials — grab a vintage yellow cooler bag, a retro navy striped beach umbrella and a vibrant floral towel for your next day in the sun.

Image: Trent van der Jagt

You know that glorious stretch of time between Christmas and New Year’s Day when, if you’re lucky, the only things on your agenda are sleep-ins, swims and afternoon cocktails? When you’re on the hunt for the book that’ll be your companion, visit Gleebooks. The much-loved independent bookshop will have a title to suit your tastes.

Not sure where to start? Take a peek at the Summer Reading Guide on Gleebooks’ website, which has dozens of suggestions in every genre — from young adult fiction and travel to gardening and politics. Of course, books also make winning gifts. Here are two failsafe options: Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook, Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love, and Trent Dalton’s new release, Love Stories. If you need even more inspo, take a look at what our writers have been reading lately.

When it comes to hosting the masses over the festive season, the smallest of details can make all the difference. For example, top-quality bread. Trust us, your guests will appreciate the effort you went to for the good stuff, particularly if it’s from Iggy’s. This family-run gem has you covered for all your carb needs this season — from seeded bagels and crunchy spelt sourdough for brekkie to rolls and breadsticks to accompany those dinner feasts.

There are a couple of things to know before you go though. The bread shop is currently only open from Monday to Thursday and the sourdough sells out fast (usually before 11am), so be prepared to hustle. Try not to let the queue spilling out of this hole-in-the-wall bakery put you off — your haul will be more than worth the wait. It’s also worth returning to Bronte on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to visit Iggy’s pastry studio, which is a couple of doors down. The feta croissant is out-of-this-world good.

This family-run business has been through a few iterations in its 40 years of operation. It opened in 1979 as Dollar Books and eventually morphed into an art supply store, Art on King, in 1993 (though you can still pick up books at adjoining bookshop Modern Times). Here, artists big and small (or professional and amateur) will find what they need to get the creative juices flowing. We’re talking Nepalese handmade paper, charcoal pencils, tie-dye kits and luxe watercolour paintbrushes.

This month, Art on King also has one of the amazing festive window displays designed by Gill Minervini in partnership with American Express. Pop down to check out the colourful wreath that nods to Newtown, and features some for the store’s products.

So, you’ve been put in charge of getting the ham this year. It’s a big responsibility, but we’re here to help you through it. A quick poll in the Concrete Playground office found that Sam the Butcher was the place to buy your ham. The Bondi Road veteran was one of the suburb’s first fully organic food distributors, and its ham is double-smoked, free-range and nitrate-free with sizes ranging from three to ten kilograms.

While you’re here, stock up on more festive dinner bits and bobs including panettone, organic Christmas pudding and fresh organic turkey. Be sure to snag some of Sam’s legendary stuffing, too, which is loaded with cranberries, figs, sage, pistachios, pancetta, Spanish onion, sesame and more.

As one of the finest cheese shops in Sydney, and with more than 200 locally and internationally sourced cheeses to choose from, a visit to Formaggi Ocello this season is a no-brainer. If you’re putting together a grazing board for pre-dinner snacks, you can chat with the team to craft a bespoke board featuring funky curds, crispbreads and cured meats — or you could cheat and just buy one of shop’s pre-prepared boxes (we won’t tell).

If you’ve still got a few last-minute gifts to pick up, Formaggi Ocello has a pleasing selection of hampers on offer, too, including this gift box that features an entire 3.5-kilogram wheel of pecorino. It’s what cheese dreams are made of.

Prawns on Christmas Day — is there anything more Australian? If you want to avoid the chaos of Sydney Fish Market in the lead-up to the big day, head to Marrickville and visit Faros Seafood instead. This beloved fish market has been a staple of the community for over 50 years with locals swinging by to stock up on fresh seafood at very reasonable prices.

Stocking up on prawns is a given, but you can also do the festive feast a little differently and try a baked full snapper — or lobster thermidor if you’re feeling extra fancy. In Greek, ‘faros’ means lighthouse, so let Faros Seafood be your beacon to guide your menu.

Shop Small this festive season and spend at least $100 with a small business. This small action will help inject an additional $2 billion into the sector to help it recover. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here.