From food to fashion, audio equipment to art, coffee to candles and recycled to cycling (we could go on...), Gloucestershire is blessed with an incredible array of independent businesses, all offering something special – both at Christmas and year round.
If you're looking for presents - either for your loved ones, or to treat yourself - SoGlos has teamed up with BPE Solicitors to showcase the county's eclectic offering, so you can put a smile on everyone's faces, while supporting a truly local enterprise.
Smart Home Sounds
If you think the online home entertainment specialist Smart Home Sounds - selling hi-fis, speakers, televisions, headphones etc. - doesn’t have a shop front, then think again.
The fast-growing firm moved into new premises on Triangle Park, off Metz Way in Gloucester, earlier this year and has a purpose-built showroom with some of the very latest and most popular gear on display.
Opened in 2011 by author Lauren St John, Octavia's Bookshop in Black Jack Street is a Cirencester institution. If you're a child - or simply love children's books - half of the stock is dedicated to you.
However, there’s a huge selection of titles for grown-ups too, from best-sellers to beautiful reference books.
BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson is due at the store on Saturday 17 December 2022 at 11am for a signing of his children's book, A Year on Adam's Farm and his new book, Two for Joy. Tickets not required.
Hawkins & Brimble
Thoroughly British, with the look and feel of products you might find in a top London barbers, men’s grooming products brand Hawkins & Brimble is headquartered in Cheltenham.
Founded by Stephen Shortt in 2016, the firm passed £1.4 million in turnover pre-pandemic and with a little help from the Department for International Trade, has spread its sales to nigh on 20 countries across the globe.
Martin Berrill Cricket and Sports Supplies
Despite the seemingly endless proliferation of opportunities to play sport virtually, some people still enjoy the real thing as well.
Martin Berrill Sports is well hidden, based on the Moreland Trading Estate near Gloucester Quays, but well used by many who are serious about getting good quality cricket or hockey equipment.
As well as top brands and knowledgeable service, you can even get custom-made bats and bat repairs.
New Brewery Arts
If it is the handmade, the creative, the artistic and imaginative that turns your head, then New Brewery Arts on Cirencester's Cricklade Street is a treasure trove.
Aiming to promote the magic that craft and creativity can bring to all our lives, it does so in some style - with everything from classes to jewellery, ceramics, art, clothing and sculpture. A national initiative, supported by Arts Council England/Arts.
James of Montpellier
A Cheltenham institution, as the name might suggest, bespoke menswear retailer James of Montpellier can be found in the boutique capital of Cheltenham, Montpellier.
With three decades of experience under its belt, the business has survived the highs and lows that retail can throw at it, but remains ahead of the curve and in demand, led by its owner Richard Dare.
Ahead of its time, Encore in Castle Street is Cirencester's gem of a 'vintage' shop. Not only can you buy a range of stylish designer label clothes here, but you can sell items you no longer wear, as well.
Founded by Linda Purvis in 1997, she remains the heart and soul of the business and as passionate as ever. If there is a label you love, chances are she can help.
Proving that the Cotswolds can be as innovative as it is beautiful, one of the newest retailers to emerge from the East Gloucestershire hills is vegan trainer firm Trash Planet, based at The Alliston Centre in Cirencester.
Founded in February 2020 by Holly Boxall and Jordan Grayson, the business began after the pair found a family-run shoemaker in Portugal after a five-day 2,600 km drive in a £200 car, in an effort to ensure that the firm making its shoes was ethical and sustainable.
The Forest Bakehouse
The Forest Bakehouse is an unusual business, born from its community; the brain-child of a group of passionate home-bakers, who felt they may just have something worth sharing. And boy, do they!
From its less than picturesque home on Longhope Industrial Estate, it has become an institution - queues form outside its door on Saturday mornings, as regulars enjoy the chance to rub shoulders and swap gossip before collecting a sourdough loaf or pastries.
This is Silk
By day, Sonal Keay is a barrister, working for the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, with a particular interest in defending people and businesses against prosecutions and a belief that institutions should simply not be allowed to throw their weight around.
Her other passion - fitting for someone whose profession sees 'taking silk' as an honour - is her business, This is Silk; products include 22 momme luxury silk pillowcases, skincare and haircare products, clothes and a modest baby care range. Based near Fairford.
Kitchen Garden Preserves
If it is preserves you're after – including chutneys, jams, relishes, mustards or dressings, and more, Kitchen Garden Preserves is the place to look.
From modest beginnings in 1989, the multi-award-winning business is now well-established at its Salmon Springs headquarters.
Then there's sister business, Wolfy's Porridge – a range of organic porridges stocked not just in supermarkets UK-wide, but also on airlines. Run and managed by James Moinet and James Horwood.
Before opening your own coffee house and roastery slid into the category of ‘cool businesses to open’, there was Ethical Addictions in Gloucester.
While many now insist on Fairtrade before they part with their money, its owners went one better and travelled to the coffee farms, struck up a fair and ethical business relationship, and traded that way.
Its operation supplies coffee houses and customers across the county and beyond, recently relocating to Staverton.
Qwerty Beer Box
Qwerty Beer Box was set up with a mission to champion Britain's finest independent craft beer and give those small producers access to a big business ‘e-commerce functionality’.
After extensive research, it compiled a vast directory of contacts, giving customers a one-stop shop to choose a selection of beers they want sent to them.
The brainchild of UK ale aficionados Quinn Leatherbarrow-Stokes and Nikolaus Porsc, Qwerty Beer Box is based in Nailsworth.
The Candle Tree
It may be one of the shortest streets in Gloucester city centre, but College Street is possibly its most handsome too, with a mixture of timber-framed shop and café-fronts, as well as elegant Tudor-style buildings leading up to the grand entrance gates to Gloucester Cathedral.
On that street sits The Candle Tree, purveyor of beautiful candles, handcrafted soaps, home fragrances, luxury baths and body treats, ladies' vintage-inspired nightwear, scarves, sustainable bamboo socks and much more
Don’t Buy Her Flowers
It sounds like something you might be told when your ability to think of a winning present for the lady/ladies in your life has deserted you. If you ever had it... which is exactly what it is!
This clever business is also an answer to your prayers, presenting an array of carefully chosen gift ideas and inspiring suggestions to help your shoulders relax and put a smile on the face of the recipient. too. Founded by Steph Douglas, whose brother Chas Earley is operations director.
Gloucester Framing works with some of the county's leading companies, including Freeman Events Partners, Superdry and Imjin Barracks, as well as county artists, to ensure the art and images they marry together for customers is beautifully presented.
With more than 50 years’ experience in picture framing and hanging, the company has also just launched an art gallery right next door. Work by contemporary Gloucester artist Adele Riley is showing currently, to be followed by Kip Kavalleres.
For the avid road cyclist, second best to a long ride is dismounting to take on board a good coffee and a slice of something you no longer need to feel guilty about eating after all that effort.
It helps if you can do all that while surrounded by cycling paraphernalia and people you can talk to about this kind of thing without their eyes glazing over.
If names like Castelli Santini, Fizik, Kask and Bianchi get your pulse racing - or if you simply like very good coffee - Veloton in Tetbury is a treat.
Those who try to live life while taking as much care of the planet as they can - especially in terms of what they buy - will know about the Greenshop Group.
Its ground-breaking eco-store, where it all began, is still going strong, selling everything from paints to natural food products, but the business is now a group, comprising the Greenshop Solar, Rainharvesting Systems, Ecolour Paints, Consolar UK and Holbrook Garage - all located just outside Stroud at Bisley.
Topaz Luxe Ltd
Topaz Swimwear is all about bold, elegant, timeless designs and swimwear that makes you feel good. I
f you ever get an invitation to tour the Bahamas, Mediterranean, or Amalfi coast - or anywhere you need to look a million dollars - its swimwear could be the answer.
The fledgling business has already won awards and was founded by the Cheltenham-based designer and creative mind Natasha Griggs.
Many big brands seek to align the vibe around their clothes to an ‘artisan’ producer who still makes thing with their hands, or of such quality that it won't wear out, but &Sons is built from that idea.
It is aimed at the male market, especially the man who doesn’t feel comfortable in a suit, or the grafter who needs his clothes to be tough, but appreciates style.
Shop online or visit its single store in Cheltenham to try items on and have them arrive on your doorstep the next day.