IT is official – Stalybridge is home to one of the UK’s best small businesses.
Magpie’s Nest was given a Parliamentary seal of approval when owner Liz Hanley headed down to London – with local MP Jonathan Reynolds on hand to show his support.
The store, based on Melbourne Street but also accessible from Armentieres Square, was picked up a highly commended prize in the Best Small Shops competition in the awards organised by the Independent Retailers Confederation.
That is on top of being name Retail Business of the Year at this year’s Pride of Tameside Business Awards.
One of just 25 businesses nominated, it showed just how far Magpie’s Nest, which stocks handbags, scarves, jewellery and other products from a range of well-known suppliers, has come.
“I was really excited,” said Liz, who also has a shop in the Arcades shopping centre in Ashton. “And I had no idea that Jonathan Reynolds was going to be there.
“It was quite funny at first as I’ve just had my hair done and I don’t think he recognised me but it was great to have him there as not everyone’s MP turned up.
“I was really surprised to win highly commended, I was really surprised to even be nominated and the standard of all the companies was really, really high.
“I’ll be honest. I looked around the room and thought, ‘Why are you in this room of these people?’”
The list of familiar names stocked at Magpie’s Nest includes Radley, Kipling, Cath Kidston, Joules, Jellycat and Wax Lyrical.
It is open seven days a week, between 9am and 5.30pm from Monday-Saturday and from 10am-4pm on Sunday.
At the moment, Liz is flat out with the traditional Christmas rush and both stores have their now familiar Christmas window displays, which this year are peacock-themed.
And getting recognised at a national level in the awards, won by The Mainstreet Trading Company which is based in St Boswell’s in the Scottish borders, has been a huge boost.
Liz added: “All the businesses in the running were really good and very different. There were things like bakers, book shops and bike shops.
“So to even be in the running, never mind be highly commended, is huge for us.”