On a stifling morning two weeks ago, I went on a long overdue exploration of the Jewellery Quarter. There was a jazz band playing in St Paul’s Square and people were already lazing on blankets on the grass. I started my journey at the stylish Saint Kitchen café. Who better to meet there than Joe Schuppler, founder of Independent Birmingham, a blog and rewards card championing independents that is just about to celebrate its first anniversary.
Joe went to University in Liverpool. There, he made friends with the founders of Independent Liverpool. After finishing, he returned home to the West Midlands. Having enjoyed exploring the independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants in Liverpool, he was eager to discover similar in the second city. He asked his friends whether he could start the same scheme in Birmingham. They said yes.
The Independent Birmingham website is a great central point to discover places to eat, drink and shop that you may have missed. Joe is eager that the website is not just a listing or reviews site. He also takes all the photographs. He says:
Instead of being a food critic I tell stories to make people inspired to visit. It’s a personal journey through Birmingham, but also an invitation for people to join in.
As independents don’t necessarily have the pulling power of the big names, Joe thought the card was the perfect way to get people in – supporting independents and also be rewarded.
Having built up over the last months, the card currently boasts offers from almost 40 independents (including cafes, bars, pubs, restaurants and shops across the city) with more being added each week.
So why should we all get an Independent Birmingham card? Joe says:
It’s the perfect way for you to rediscover your city, support local businesses and be rewarded at the same time.
The Independent Birmingham card is available here.