We Are One – Old Town General Store

To celebrate Brothers & Sisters reaching the grand old age of one, our series ‘We Are One’ will tell the story of some of the independents we’ve watched grow over the last 12 months. Class of 2020, we salute you!

Tony outside Old Town General Store, 24 Lower Hillgate, Stockport Old Town.

Old Town General Store in Stockport is one of the most clicked shops on Brothers & Sisters. A lifestyle store, selling a perfectly curated selection of mens and ladies fashion, homewares, gifts and beauty products, the shop opened at the end of October 2020, and was trading for six days before the second national lockdown.

In this week’s blog, the store owner Tony tells us about Old Town General Store’s first year…

Opening a shop when we were knee-deep in the pandemic, remind us how the shop came about please Tony!?

I’ve always worked for large retailers including Flannels, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. Like many others, I became a victim of COVID and was made redundant in July 2020. I was applying for jobs and having good responses but nothing felt right and I started to think about opening my own store. It’s always been a dream to open my own shop.

One year on, what’s been the biggest challenge?

The lockdown in November was a week after I’d opened the shop, and overall we ended up being closed for 21 weeks out of 26 in the first 6 months. As a new store, having to totally pivot to being an online operation was a huge challenge and totally went against my business plan!

Tell us about the best bits of the last year?

The customer support has been brilliant, so many people have been really wonderful in shopping local, spreading the name of the shop amongst friends and buying online during lockdowns! I’m really humbled and thankful for everyone who has supported the shop over the last year.

What’s next for OTGS?

I’m most excited about continuing to build our brand offering, introducing Stockport to labels like Fracap and April Meets October, and working with local folk in bringing great stuff to Stockport. I’m also very excited about all the progress Stockport has made – long may it continue!

And of course there’s 20% off everything in the shop and online until midnight on Monday November 29th!

Find Tony and the latest fashion brands, lifestyle inspo and gifts at Old Town General Store, 24 Lower Hillgate, Stockport Old Town, SK11JE or shop online anytime on the website, delivery is free on all orders over £75.


We Are One – Sukikoko

On November 5th last year we began the second national lockdown, thousands of people were on furlough and the planet felt like a very uncertain place to be. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention and, during these most unpredictable of times, a crop of innovative, creative and courageous businesses was born.

To celebrate Brothers & Sisters reaching the grand old age of one, our next series ‘We Are One’ will tell the story of some of the independents we’ve watched grow over the last 12 months. Class of 2020, we salute you.

Louise launched Sukikoko online on 14th November 2020

Set up by Louise and launched on November 14th 2020, Sukikoko is a gift & lifestyle webshop and pop-up shop. Sukikoko selects bold, bright and fun items to cheer up any dull day, home or outfit and, to celebrate one year in business, Louise will be sharing a birthday discount over the shop socials.

How did Sukikoko come about?

I was on furlough from Spring 2020 and started planning the shop over the summer, with a launch date pencilled in for November. Then lockdown 2 happened and the plan switched to 100% online…

What have been the best bits of the last year?

What a bizarre year for retail and in general to be honest! The website is stronger than ever and there have been some fantastic moments along the way. In December last year we hosted a few pop up shops in the Elk (bar!) in Hale. It was great and all the locals loved it. This gave us the confidence to head over to the Pop Up shop in The Stamford Quarter in Alty and do two week long stints! It was fantastic!

What’s been the biggest challenge in your first year of trading?

The tough part for me was the January Lockdown, having two young kids at home and a husband working full time made running a small business tricky. I’m proud I kept it all going and managed to do all the homeschooling – just bloody hope it doesn’t happen again though!!”

What’s next for Sukikoko?

We’re excited about what’s to come, our range has extended, we’re starting a kids’ collection and we hope to have our own candle range in 2022. We’ll be hosting more and more pop -ups in a range of locations and we’re currently discussing some evening Christmas shopping events too!

What’s kept you going over the last year?

All in all it’s been fantastic and the support from locals and online has been wonderful. When used for good and productively, social media can be great and it’s been an excellent tool for small businesses.

For the latest products and details of up-coming pop-ups follow Sukikoko on Instagram or visit the website.


Agapanthus Interiors’ Top 5

Specialising in antique and furniture restoration, and antique chandeliers, carefully sourced from the UK and Europe, Agapanthus Interiors is a superstar amongst the local independents in Stockport Old Town.

Founded by Zoe & Tom in 2014, over the last 15 years the pair have nurtured a community of talented designers and accomplished craftspeople to bring beautiful furniture and homewares to their magical shop and online store.

If you’ve never met a French chandelier you didn’t love, Zoe’s Top 5 local independents are recommendations worth dipping your quill for….

Zoe & Tom outside their beautiful Agapanthus Interiors shop

1. Van the Welder

Behind a row of Terrace houses in the West of Manchester resides Van The Welder’s small perfectly formed fabrication shop. Stephen (affectionately known as Ste-van) started his fledgling business after an unexpected redundancy, mid pandemic, September 2020. Having worked over 31 years as a welder/fabricator both in the UK and for a time in Barcelona, SteVan has the capability to create anything you can imagine in a metal of your choice, from Crittal style doors, camper van roof racks to bespoke furniture.

Why is it Top 5? I’ve loved observing the launch into self-employment from Ste-van after taking redundancy on the chin due to Covid-19. This welding talent creates not only functional pieces but also fun decorative wares for the home and garden. I can vouch for the quality too having just ordered our 5th piece.

Ste-Van the Welder with handmade pumpkin and decorated Christmas wreath

2. Still Life Story, 16 Merseyway, SK1 1PJ.

Homewares and lifestyle pieces selected to promote slow living. With their collections Still Life Story aim to transcend trends and help you to create your own unique story.

Why is it Top 5? A fellow shop owner in Stockport who brings bright, fun and stylish homewares to the area. Ruby adapted so well to the changing demands over the lockdown periods which also included delivering weekly seasonal bouquets to your door. Now situated on the Mersey Way with a pop of yellow shop frontage, this temporary space is certainly still a highlight in Stockport.

Ruby, Still Life Story Shop, 16 Merseyway, Stockport.

3. Underbank Studios, 11 Underbank, SK1 1LA.

Underbank Studios is an artist and designer collective of four local women with a vision to open a not-for-profit, multi-purpose artists studio space and cultural hub in Stockport Old Town.

Why is it Top 5? An exciting and refreshing space opened by four creatives in June 2021 on the Underbanks. The project was crowd funded and they are keeping the campaign going to help fund workshops. This dynamic hub adds a new dimension to the area which I can’t wait to see more of.

US is founded by four female artist and designers, Lily, Heather, Luca & Becky.

4. The Old Potato Store

Karen Barlow Interior designer and stylist set up The Old Potato Store, specialising in decorative accessories that make a space individual and personal, such as period mirrors, original antique artwork, faded and aged decorative architectural salvage and traditional handmade practical objects.

Why is it Top 5? We have a shared passion for beautifully worn decorative pieces, Karen’s feed is filled with her curated flea market finds, beautifully styled.

Karen Barlow, interior designer, stylist and creator of The Old Potato Store.

5. On The Brink

On The Brink Studio is a Manchester based collaborative brought to you by furniture ace Gareth Batowski and photographer extraordinaire Elle Brotherhood.

Why is it Top 5? This dynamic and forward thinking duo continues to inspire us. We’ve collaborated with them for years on both professional and home projects. Their unique and authentic approach to each project they embark on is refreshing to see.

Blue Kitchen by Gareth Batowski

Find Agapanthus Interiors online and at 77 Wellington Street, Hillgate, SK1 1FE. Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm.

Agapanthus Interiors, 77 Wellington Street, Hillgate, Stockport, SK1 1FE.