Show your locals some love this Valentine’s Day! The importance of supporting small businesses and the hospitality industry during key business periods
The past 12 months have been challenging for the nation’s small businesses. From boutique shops to bars and restaurants, this sector has faced many hurdles in the form of three national lockdowns and tier-based restrictions. Almost a year in, many independents have reinvented themselves (more than a few times!), from pubs partnering with meat suppliers to offer butcher’s products and restaurants teaming up with the fruit and veg wholesalers to create pop-up green grocers. It’s been a difficult year, but one full of ingenuity too.
For any small business, the key seasonal moments such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and most imminently, Valentine’s Day, offer a much-needed boost to sales. Whether it’s a bunch of flowers, a bespoke gift or a dining reservation, these trading periods are often relied on to carry independents through quieter periods. Within the hospitality sector, Valentine’s Day is the single biggest dining occasion of the year and with 14th February just around the corner, I wanted to share my top five picks of businesses to help you celebrate at home this weekend:
Born out of the pandemic, Shop Cuvee (the delivery service arm of Finsbury Park’s much loved Top Cuvee) has created an incredible three course Valentine’s Day dining experience complete with wine and mood lighting in the form of Earl of East’s much-loved candles. The kit offers meat and vegetarian options and is available for delivery UK-wide.
Hackney hangout, Silver Lining, has everything you could need to celebrate a boozy Valentine’s at home. From their legendary cocktails, perfectly bottled and ready to serve, to curated Valentine’s bottle packs which feature handmade candles, Silver Lining has excellent options to help celebrate this weekend.
Clapton favourite Jim’s Café has created a delicious Valentine’s Dining experience for two that can be rustled up by even the most culinarily challenged cooks. The two-course duck breast and truffle mash dinner kit can be pulled together at home in under 30 minutes and is followed by a black forest clafoutis with a kirsch and chocolate sauce. The dinner kit includes six rose and rhubarb spritz cocktails to kick start the evening, with additional cocktails and stellar wines also available on request.
Though technically not a Valentine’s Day dish, Decatur’s shrimp boil box meals are not to be missed and are a delicious way also to celebrate Mardi Gras on 16th February. These incredibly easy (literally throw it all in a pot) kits offer huge New Orleans flavour with next to no waste, making them easy to enjoy after a long day at work! But you’ve got to be quick, they don’t stick around for long…
No Valentine’s Day is complete without a bunch of flowers and with local florists closed, many are turning to online alternatives for beautiful bouquets this weekend. I love the variety at East London’s RebelRebel. Normally found in the heart of Mare Street Market, RebelRebel offer colourful alternatives to traditional roses (though they sell those too) and are still taking orders for delivery this weekend.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to show the small businesses near you a bit of love too, so order a cocktail kit, a bunch of flowers or a card from your favourite independents, it’ll help ensure they’re still there once we’re all allowed to dine out and shop freely again!