The Christmas Steps’ latest indie shop encourages customers to shop local and avoid ‘faceless chain stores’

Rova opened its door last week on Bristol’s Christmas Steps

The owner of an independent store has told BristolWorld it has enjoyed a better-than-expected start to its tenure at Bristol’s iconic Christmas Steps after a year of researching to find the perfect spot to trade from. Rova, at 11 Christmas Steps, opened its doors earlier this month and has been rammed with shoppers ever since.

Paul Baxter says he spent more than a year planning and researching Rova’s opening. The specialist shop sells independently produced magazines from around the world covering a breadth of subjects from interior design, to sports as well as stationary.

Mr Baxter said: “The opening week has been better than expected with sales higher than our forecast and the shop almost constantly occupied with people browsing throughout the first Saturday. [Rova stocks] independently produced magazines from around the world that are difficult to find outside of a specialist shop such as Rova. Many of the titles are published just once or twice a year, and most carry no advertising.

“The magazines cover a wide range of topics, art, design, travel, interiors, sport, food and drink, business and current affairs, but all focus on quality written content, stunning photography or art direction and often all three. The shop also offers a small collection of coffee table books that compliment the magazines, as well as self-published zines on topics as diverse as modern architecture, folk-horror and historical photo-documentary.”

Since opening day, Rova has supported Bristol creatives, stocking its shelves with homegrown titles such as Hellebore, Left Cultures, Pressing Matters Cheese and Pit. Paul noted the importance of shopping locally in the build-up to Christmas rather than visiting “faceless chain stores”.

He explained: “These days more and more people are thinking carefully about who they give their money to, perhaps taking into account ethical issues such as the effect of globalisation on the environment or tax avoidance of multinationals in the UK.

“Also, many indie businesses exist heart of local communities in secondary locations that are of no interest to the big national chains. Many people care about their local high street and want to see their neighbourhoods thrive and supporting locally owned and operated businesses is one of the best things we can do to help. Shops that have a curated selection of rare, quirky or exclusive items are far more satisfying places to discover gifts for those you love, including yourself, compared to algorithm driven websites or uninspiring faceless chain stores.”