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Open Letter To Exeter

Dear people of Exeter (and beyond),


My name is Kalkidan, I am writing to you on behalf of the Independent businesses in our city to ask if you could help us make our Christmas wishes come true this year.

This year has been one of the most challenging for businesses across the city.  We have navigated the increases in the cost of raw materials we need to trade. New challenges of trading with our European neighbours shrinking our markets. And faced the cost of the living crisis affecting so many in our community. This combination of external hurdles has created the perfect storm. 

Many of the small and independent businesses in the city are facing  uniquely challenging times. So today on the eve of Black Friday I’m asking you to make sure to visit one or two as you enjoy your end of year festivities. 

I believe that creativity, culture, and community in Exeter are grown and nurtured in its community of small and independent businesses.  In my own shop, I have seen how our passion for sustainable fashion has inspired students at Exeter college, and how they went on to create wonderful work of their own. I have seen children delight in the Halloween costumes of my neighbour's shops, new musicians finding their footing in Manson guitar shop, and apprentices learning the skills of their trade in our award-winning beauty and hair salons. 

I’ve seen hundreds of people repair their bikes at Hardy's Bikes ahead of summer weekends. Multiple generations of families commission custom shoes for themselves at Chuckles. Loved ones and distant family members share meals and tell stories in our fantastic café’s. I’ve seen homemakers travel cross country to find vintage treasures at Bracket Interiors, and students, professors and authors huddle together to delight in new novels at Bookbag. With each visit, each person, in each business enjoys welcoming smiles, delights in unique experiences and in many cases browses climate-friendly products, and contributes to our cities culture.  

For these reasons and many others we have one request for you this year. A request to prevent as many businesses from closing their doors as possible.  It’s a simple request that can be summarised in two words.

Shop small.

Shop small and invest in your community of independent business. In return, your community of independent businesses will continue to invest in our shared city. 

With love from,

Exeter Shop’s and business owners. 



Kalkidan Legesse - Sancho’s 

Hayley & Nathan Maker - Sacred Grounds 

Jo Greenwood - The Real McCoy 

Becky Broadley & Tracey Starbuck - Bracket Interiors

Mattie Richardson - Bunyip Craft 

Anna Dervout Bass - Along Avec Anna

Sonya Ellis - Exeter Craft Hub

Dan Taylor - The Grocer On The Green

Lucie Crump - Fika Salon 

Sarah Martin - Nourish Zero Waste

Rachel & Jacob Hicks - Magdalen Cheese & Provisions

Cathy McAnespie - Prime Time

Emma Hayler - Leaf Street

Calvo Loco, Magdalen Road

Tracy Milburn - Sandwiched Inn

Ben’s Farm Shop - Magdalen Road

Adam Stock - Eat The bird

Fabian - Brick & Mortar barber shop.

Patrick Cunningham - Maker Mart

Steven Chown - Jelly Children’s Charity Shop

Tristan Clements - Bon Gout Delicatessen