Editor’s Choice

with Lesley Williams

It’s a gift

Every year I promise myself that I am not going to succumb to internet shopping for all my Christmas gifts. It’s too easy to plonk myself in front of my computer and, at the click of a mouse, spend a fortune on expensive commercial tat. So it was great to hear that a gift shop had opened in Sterry Road in Gowerton that sold all manner of present ideas. Owner, Suzanne Stevens has been a business woman in Gowerton for some years. She has been involved in the family business, Williams Pet & Garden Supplies  in Brynymor Road, Gowerton with her husband David since 1999.

The Shop With No Name

Since opening in October, Suzanne has been pondering over what to call the shop – so it currently trades as The Shop with no Name! It may be small in size but it is packed with very reasonably priced merchandise from Ultimate Drifter, Village candle authorised retailer and Belisama candles, jewellery by Rubyanne, soaps, Bomb cosmetics, cushions and throws, hand-made fudge and driftwood crafts. Suzanne is sourcing as much of her stock from local designers/artisans as possible – or at least from UK suppliers. She even has pretty little pot plants and flowers for that last minute gift.

You’ll find the SWNN at 70 Sterry Road, Gowerton SA4 3BW Tel: 01792 875655

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Leap of Faith

Swansea seems to be the place for quirky little individual shops and tea rooms. Number 600 in Clydach Road is celebrating its first birthday in November. Owner Donna Edwards took a leap of faith when she transformed a rundown shop and video store into a stylish coffee shop and emporium. Now it is the go-to place to those in the know, for casual dresses and jackets as well as very reasonably priced costume jewellery – and you can have afternoon tea to boot.

600 Clydach Road, Ynystawe, Swansea SA6 5AY Tel: 07789075488

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Thinking outside the box

Sarla Langdon swanned into BAY HQ earlier this year and said “hey, I’ve found a new shop in Brynymor Road, that you’ll love – it’s called The BOX and it’s full of furniture and stuff made from scrap”. And I thought that my home looked quite elegant.

I trotted down to meet up with the owner Daniel Faull last month – to see what he was up to. Dan grew up in Langland and after graduating from Birmingham University worked as Project Manager for a building company before starting his own building firm. He’d always been practical and hand’s on and was passionate about preserving our industrial heritage and reusing machinery parts wherever possible – saving them from skips or the scrap yard.

Daniel certainly has a talent for taking something that others would earmark for scrap and transforming it into a unique piece of furniture, as can be seen in the old bath that has been upholstered and is now an elegant chaise longue to be found in The Welcome to Town pub/restaurant  in Llanrhidian. Other local businesses have been quick to support Daniel in his quest to upcycle; Brewstone, The Ship Inn in Port Eynon and most recently CRU42 in Mumbles.

The BOX, in Catherine Street, just off Brynymor Road offers unique pieces – no two tables will ever be the same as they are made from whole pieces of timber which have their own natural identities. I found garden furniture made from hardwearing, reclaimed Jarrah railway sleepers. Reclaimed copper which is hand buffed to a mellow glow and used to make table tops and stools. Dan’s aim is to elevate industrial chic to a new level, and to produce items that will take pride of place in domestic homes for many years.

The BOX is the sort of place you have to just pop into and see what is available – or you can commission a be-spoke piece to your own specification.

The BOX, Catherine Street, Brynmill, Swansea SA1 4JS

The shop is open Wed and Thursday 11-2, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-4. You can also see Dan’s work on his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

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Not Just Stamps

Every month TheBAY sends out via Royal Mail about 90 magazines to subscribers and advertisers. My Post Office of choice is Tycoch, as I can park outside and stagger in under the not inconsiderable weight of printed matter. Loraine Williams Tycoch’s glamorous answer to Postman Pat’s, Mrs Goggins, chuckles when I bring in my laundry basket filled to the brim with brown envelopes. But Loraine is more than just a purveyor of postage stamps, she has another side to her business – The Thoughtful Frog. This little green amphibian has an eclectic collection of very desirable gifts at amazingly low prices. Where else can you buy an Italian leather handbag from £25? Beautiful handmade velvet and silk scarfs, contemporary jewellery and lots of stocking filler ideas are all available at very reasonable cost.

A Sporting Chance

Last year sportswear giants Adidas and Nike announced that they would not supply outlets who failed to sell less than £25,000 of their products each year. They clearly weren’t interested in supporting small independent sports shops.

Nash Sport has been trading from premises in Gower Road in Sketty since 1971 and has, in the last year or so been taken over by Russell Wade following the death of the shop’s founder, Ray Nash.

Sport’s shops like Nash face huge competition from the giants such as JD Sports and Footlocker and of course internet shopping. But is it really more convenient to shop on-line for sports goods? Nash carries a huge range of equipment for the majority of popular sports – if you can’t find it on the shelf do ask – they have probably got it in the cavernous stockroom at the rear of the store. Russell and his support team have spent hours sifting through and cataloguing the stock inherited from Ray and discovered some interesting vintage items. What they don’t have in stock can be ordered for collection within 48 hours. If you don’t know exactly what present to give, pick up some gift vouchers so that the recipient can choose for themselves.

Nash stocks top names such as Mitre, Gilbert, Kookaburra and Joma. Hockey players will now have a local kit supplier of TK and Mercian brands.

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Let’s Go Fly A Kite

The Kite Shop in Pitton Cross Gower is another hidden gem when looking for a present for the person that’s got everything. Not only do they stock a kite for every level of ability, including power and stunt kites, but also lots of other outdoorsy stuff such as maps and walk books, body boards and everything you need for a day on the beach. If you’re in need of entertainment when the weather is bad, you’ll find a great range of jigsaws and games for all the family.

The Gower Kite Shop, Pitton Cross Caravan Park, Rhossili, Gower SA3 1PT Tel: 01792 390593

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Too often we hear complaints that we are losing our independent shops and stores, and that our High Streets are being commandeered by charity shops. Well the old adage of use it or lose it springs to mind. We have some excellent individual shops in Swansea – six of them I have highlighted here but there a many more.

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