When we went shopping at Bullring recently, we found ourselves feeling depressed—empty units and barely any shoppers gave off the post-apocalyptic feeling that persisted long after we arrived home.
With so many people working from home again, there’s a real dark cloud over the city, with some readers speculating that the overcrowding charges were contributing to the overall bad vibe.
But it got us thinking – if people aren’t shopping in the city, where are they going?
Read more: We sent a shopper to investigate Birmingham city center – and the shock was obvious
Could it be time for our local high streets and city centers to shine?
We thought we’d come to Northfield to see if it could compare to a trip to the city. Here’s what we found:
there are lots of deals
Not only does Northfield have a B&M and Home Bargains right next to each other, but we’ve even managed to get a few items of clothing at Pep & Co. for under five bucks!
The shopping center itself has a decent sized Wilco, which is always great for small home and garden pieces.
Then there’s a new look and more for cheap shampoos and cosmetics for bodycare and fashion fans.
Sure, the city has the massive draw that Primark is, but Northfield isn’t a bad choice!
There are tons of pawn broker/trade-in type stores in Northfield that, while they are really handy for some, are generally quite frustrating.
That said, there are small independent shops that break things down. Northfield can be found at the Cobbler Shopping Center while the Northfield Fruit & Veg Shop offers great deals on fresh produce.
We may have heard wrong, but we think the grocer shouted “Get your sexy grapes for a pound!” As we passed
sexy grapes, you say? You can’t bring them to Tesco. It doesn’t matter if we do.
You can meet friends for coffee
There is somewhere for everyone to stop and have coffee and cake.
There’s definitely Greg’s (where isn’t Greg’s?!) that has some seating, and further along the way in the center is the Costa for a more posh stop.
If you’re heading out to visit Spacesavers or B&M’s for the aforementioned bargains, you can head to the cozy cafe – it’s affiliated with the greengrocer that sells sexy fruit..
Charity shops abound
If you don’t like the fast fashion options we mentioned earlier, you can take someone else’s pre-loved items home at one of Northfield’s many charity shops.
We especially liked the St. Mary’s Hospice shop. Not only is it such a worthy cause, but they had some fun pieces from Birmingham bric-a-brac that we thought were excellent.
We saw some vintage Cadbury mugs and a Bird’s Custard sign!
it is easy to access
We parked in the shopping center car park which was quite reasonable – up to two hours for a pound, £1.20 for two hours or £5 for a full day.
On Sunday you can park all day for just 1 pound – you can’t beat that.
There are also plenty of buses serving the city center from other areas of the city, and you can pay on your phone.
Many shoppers were roaming the aisles on their mobility scooters and power chairs – most shops are on one level inside and outside the shopping center and the car park has lifts.
Overall, we felt that Northfield really gives you everything you need – a post office, groceries, frozen foods, clothing and more.
As is the case in many city centres, he had his share of men standing in groups drinking cans, and lighting a giant suspicious-smelling ‘cigarette’ in the entrance of the shopping center, but it didn’t feel like an unsafe place.
Maybe it was because the sun was blazing and soaking Northfield in 28 degrees of glory, but we thought it was awesome!
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