A unique children’s store and community space in Sheffield has been crowned the UK’s best small high-street business at this year’s Small Awards, at a ceremony in London hosted by presenter, writer, actor and comedian Sue Perkins.
Small Stuff – which combines a children’s store offering sustainable toys and products, and a community hub supporting local businesses and families – won the ‘High Street Hero’ award, sponsored by TSB, for its positive impact on the community.
Founder Hellen Stirling-Baker, who has grown the business from its roots as a pop-up in 2016 to having a permanent premises in Sheffield’s Crookes district three years ago, impressed judges with her passionate support of the local high street.
In particular, Hellen has created a space above the shop where other local businesses can host workshops, events and pop-ups, as well as a rest area for parents and carers, with children actively encouraged to explore and play in-store. Small Stuff also led on creating an online marketplace to support other local businesses during the pandemic, as well as growing its own thriving online store.
“We are so delighted to win this award! The long-term vibrancy of Crookes high street means the world to all of us at Small Stuff,” says Hellen. “We are looking forward to the future of supporting more talented local people in the community, as well as continuing to serve our customers.”
Now in its sixth year, the Small Awards is a nationwide search for the smallest and greatest firms in the UK. It is organised annually by Small Business Britain, which champions, inspires and accelerates small businesses in the UK.
Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain and the Small Awards, congratulated the winners.
“Small Stuff’s win is very well deserved,” she says. “Their passion for helping the high street to thrive, by supporting other local firms, is a great example of the power of small businesses to bring communities together and be a shining light in our town and city centres.”
This year, the Small Awards received a record number of applications from small businesses, with over 80 finalists shortlisted across 11 Small Award categories that celebrate the nation’s most inspirational business, across everything from sole traders, to digital stars and purposeful community-driven businesses.
Adeel Hyder, Business Banking Director at TSB, says: “Congratulations to Small Stuff, who truly are high street heroes, and worthy winners across this incredibly competitive award category. It is great to be celebrating British small businesses, reminding people of the incredible value local high streets provide in driving business and community.”
The Small Awards is judged by a panel of leading enterprise experts. Guests were treated to a dazzling display of entertainment by the West End’s Phoenix Arts Club and inclusive dance group, DanceSyndrome, along with food and drink by independent caterers Boulevard Events.