Most of us saw lockdown as a time to sharpen up our skills, from perfecting the perfect banana loaf (and scoffing it) to crafting a clay pot to adorn the mantelpiece and remind us of pandemic times gone by. Instead, marketing consultant and Londoner Olivia Martyn decided to set up her own not-for-profit organisation to help the city’s businesses stay afloat.
As supermarket shelves lay empty, many restaurants changed their focus to selling fresh produce sourced from local suppliers. Bookshops took the opportunity to start delivering niche titles to Londoners who suddenly had an abundance of reading time on their hands. We were reminded why bakeries are the best place to get your daily loaf (if you couldn’t be bothered with those sourdough starters, at least). Martyn noticed this shift in consumer spending habits, and that’s why @shop_local_london and the accompanying website High Street Heroes were born.
Martyn asked for recommendations in boroughs across the capital and hundreds poured in. Shop Local London gained 5,000 followers within its first few months, becoming an impressive directory for everything you could possibly need in our New Normal. So much so that Martyn has now employed four furloughed workers and a number of university students to help her maintain the Instagram account and website.
Martyn says: ‘Our mission is to spread the word about the independent shops which make up a huge part of London’s wonderfully diverse identity and highlight innovative ways in which they’ve adapted during the pandemic.’
How’s that for a lockdown project? Now we feel bad about only learning to ace the perfect Margarita.
Not ready to shop at big supermarkets again? Check out our list of the best places for grocery deliveries in London.
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