In aid of Small Business Saturday Voist visited 4COSE, a concept food shop on east London’s Vyner Street (check out the video above). Located in Cullinan Richards artists’ studio, 4COSE brings a taste of Italy to its shoppers. Each month Andrea Sassi, of Dispari & Dispari projects, sources four quality food products from local independent producers in and around his hometown Reggio Emilia.

© Voist Ltd.
Produce on display at 4COSE

The concept for 4COSE came about partly out of the desire to be able to get hold of good quality parmesan cheese at a reasonable price but also to give people the opportunity to look at art while shopping for food.

The delicious treats on sale are brought to the studio on Vyner Street by Sassi giving one local community a chance to buy produce from local suppliers in Northern Italy. Alongside the produce are ever changing displays of work created by different artists each month; a great way for culture vultures to kill two birds with one stone. You can admire art while picking up salami. The love child of a private view and Italian deli you could say.

Regional Italian sweets on sale
Regional Italian sweets on sale

The UK’s first Small Business Saturday is an attempt to draw consumers away from the hands of big chains and into the arms of smaller local retailers. Voist decided 4COSE, a unique micro business, was a perfect example of the UK’s growing industry of small business’ and start-up’s.

The event began life in America in 2010 and sees a fiscal boost for small businesses and independent retailers. It seems however that the first UK version of Small Business Saturday is attempting to do a bit more than just encouraging us to part with cash locally. It wants to give inspiration and tips to small businesses and independents who are trying to find their way on the high street. It is an unsponsored and un-commercialised event being led by an army of volunteers and organisations who are giving their time and advice for free.

Artwork on display in Cullinan Richards studio
Artwork on display in Cullinan Richards studio

Small businesses and independents fight a determined and admirable battle against the ‘Clone Towns’ that now dominate every high street. Small Business Saturday helps to encourage and nurture entrepreneurial spirit, if shoppers want the luxury of alternative choice then this event is well worth backing.