Following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, rebuilding people’s confidence to venture out and explore the vast range of diverse shops we have on our high streets has been fundamental to the stability and future of those businesses. At the same time, though, an increase in the cost of living is putting a squeeze on local businesses and their customers alike.

Alan Ball is one of Business Sheffield’s team of high street experts, supporting local businesses to weather the challenge.

“I am seeing three main areas that our high street businesses are facing challenges on,” he says. “These are rising energy costs, the rising costs of ingredients and products, and the reduction in cashflow available.

“To help combat these issues, there are a few things I suggest doing immediately. The first is a cashflow forecast – this can just be a line on what the sales are weekly and carry that forward for a month, then add the outgoings weekly and take that over a month so you capture things like wages and utility bills. You can now see immediately if you have any shortfall and begin to act.

“The second is to look at is your costs. When was the last time you looked around for an alternative supplier, or asked what alternative lines they might have available?

“I can be on hand to visit and support to help with a range of queries and problems within your business. Our high street businesses are the backbone of our community, not only in the city centre but across the districts. Support for our high streets will maintain the important service they provide, the jobs they create and that all-important experience. I hope that they continue to reach out for support; I will certainly be on hand to do just that where my experience adds value.”

If you’d like some support for your business, call us on call 0114 224 5000 or email

You can also watch a recorded webinar from Alan on managing cashflow at



Worth is an interior design, homeware and gift business in Broomhill, creating bespoke soft furnishing and upholstery.

Founder Sarah Worth opened her shop in 1991, curating a collection of home and giftware with an emphasis on artisan, handcrafted and ethically made items. She tries to source unusual yet affordable product ranges.

Sarah said: “I enjoy the diversity each workday offers, and working in Broomhill is excellent. An eclectic community of independent small businesses provides a fantastically diverse retail offering.

“The beauty of shopping locally is that customers and shop owners can build up a unique relationship, and many of my customers are just as welcome to pop in for a chat as they are to come in and make a purchase.

“There are lots of challenges for independent businesses. We were coming through the other side of the pandemic only to now be faced with the pressures created by the current cost of living crisis.

“The high street is quieter. All we can do is provide the best service, stay adaptable, show our customers how much they are appreciated, keep people on our high streets, and challenge the increasing trend toward online shopping.”


Ooops A Daisy

Ooops A Daisy is a florist based in Chapeltown which sells gifts, garden ornaments and flowers for weddings and memorials.

Diane Round started her business about six years ago. There was no florist in Chapeltown at the time, so Diane saw the opportunity to open her shop, and being a part of the Chapeltown community means a lot to her.

Diane said: “We started off with a free community event and worked hard to get funding which was a real success.

“The community spirit in Chapeltown is excellent; there are always events for different charities – veterans, mental health, animals – there’s always something taking place. It’s community-minded, and there’s often a focus on creating things to do for both older and younger people alike. People want Chapeltown to succeed and put a lot of effort into this.

“People are keener on shopping local now because they couldn’t go far during the pandemic, so local businesses were delivering more and more for their communities. Now, people are repaying those businesses by continuing to shop with them and I think I can speak for all small business owners when I say we are eternally grateful for that.

“Covid and Brexit affected our ability to get stock and initially, we struggled. It took longer to get things; when funerals and weddings relied on them that became more troubling than the prices going up. Within about six months things had levelled out, but the impact of the cost-of-living crisis remains to be seen.”


Martha Heritage

Martha Heritage was founded in 2012 by Anna Coupland with a desire to inject something new into her neighbourhood in Sheffield whilst gaining some work/life balance with a growing family.

In 2015, Josh Mintoft joined when family circumstances made Anna think she may have to close. By 2016 a great bond had formed, and their working partnership was cemented.

In 2018 they purchased the shop next door on Terminus Road, Millhouses, and in May 2019, Heritage Lifestyle, a local independent department store, was born. They sell a mixture of furniture, locally sourced candles, room fragrances, decorative accessories, giftware, loungewear and much more.

Josh said: “We love that every day is different for us, and we’re faced with so many challenges along the way, but each of those has helped get us where we are today.

“We are nestled within a neighbourhood, which makes us unique. We’re a row of fully independent shops and businesses that all support each other! We offer something entirely different from the usual high street, and we pride ourselves on our customer service and making everyone feel welcome within our neighbourhood.

“The biggest challenges we face as an independent is getting ourselves known and getting our name out there, we’re very much a destination and not somewhere you’re likely to fall upon.

“However, it’s so lovely knowing how many people recommend us to friends, and we see daily how many people find shopping independent so important.”