Spotlight on: Dyson Place
The Sharrow Vale area of Sheffield has long been known throughout the city as a hub for independent businesses. Lined up along the small suburb’s eponymous main street you’ll find a good number of shops, cafes and restaurants providing a homegrown alternative to those looking to support local, bestowing upon the location a quirky, unique feel – like its own little village detached from the faceless chains that dominate Ecclesall Road just a stones’ throw away.
Adding substantially to this vibrant mix of indie food, drink and retail outlets in the neighbourhood is the Dyson Place development, an enclaved courtyard space tucked behind Sharrow Vale Road (you enter between JH Mann fishmongers and the Mediterranean restaurant) which today boasts 12 businesses providing everything from Vietnamese food, Spanish tapas and evening cocktails to acupuncture, hairdressing and handmade baby clothing.
“Dyson Place was built and is still run by a family business,” explained Daniel Flowers, son of Dyson Place director Martin Flowers. “It’s taken around 10 years to get from start to finish. It was transformed from what was essentially a muddy car park to what you see today, a real hidden gem and family-friendly space that people can escape to.”
It certainly looks the part. When Exposed visited on a sunny weekday afternoon last month, the courtyard was already bustling away nicely; a healthy throng of people could be seen sipping lunchtime drinks, tucking into banh mi or wandering in and out of the retail units dotted throughout the space.
It’s a pleasant atmosphere that gets even better as the weekend approaches. “If you come on a nice Saturday evening, when the festoon lights are on and you can hear the clinking of glasses, you could easily be in Spain or Italy. There’s a real European courtyard feel,” says Daniel.
In typical Sheffield fashion, Dyson Place manages to retain a distinctly modern vibe while tipping its hat to heritage. The historic Mission Hall, a red-brick building going back to 1904 where it served as a parish hall for the area, now houses the popular Cornerstone bar/restaurant. In front of the building, you’ll find a large stone serving as something of a centrepiece for the square, a segment from one of the 19th century wells discovered during the rebuild.
With social restrictions and lockdowns hopefully now a thing of the past, Dan mentions there are exciting plans ahead for the venue, which includes everything from outdoor cinema events to the potential addition of a secret garden area. Keep an eye on their socials for updates, but in the meantime, we’d like to introduce you to the traders making this cosy space one of the most exciting hangouts in the Steel City…
Situated in the historic Mission Hall building and bringing their own brand of casual dining to Dyson Place, Cornerstone joined the community of traders this summer and can cater for just about anything across its two floors and spacious outdoor seating. “Whether you’re looking for a casual drink or two, an afternoon brunch with pals or family, a sit-down meal with small plates in the evening, we can provide all of that,” says co-owner Richard Massarella, who runs the restaurant alongside his brother Michael. “We want the customer to choose the experience they want.”
“Well travelled” is how Richard would describe the cuisine if pushed. He says the roots of it are Italian – the brothers are from the same family who own Café Massarella – and that provides a big influence, particularly behind the small sharing plates available in the evening. However, the venue has been busy throughout the day, making the most of its varied offering, and he claims that Cornerstone has settled in perfectly amongst the other tenants. “It’s a great community, and a genuinely nice place to be. The other businesses have been great with us; we don’t see them as competition because everyone benefits when it’s busy. One evening they might be eating here, and then the next you’ll see them sat in one of the other places – it’s all great to see.”
Stepping up from their popular deli shop on Hickmott Road to fully-fledged tapas restaurant overlooking the yard, IberiCo brings a truly authentic taste of Spain to Sharrow Vale. Owner Daniel Marquez Pedrosa takes inspiration from the cuisine in his Spanish hometown of Cadiz, bringing over specially selected meats, cheese, coffee and wine to Sheffield (the latter being sourced from a producer in the north of Spain and exclusive to the UK).
The increased footfall since moving to Dyson Place has sure kept him and his team busy; the restaurant has flourished since opening in August this year, and the new al fresco setting has helped them achieve their goal of transporting visitors from South Yorkshire to the south of Spain. Dan told us: “The space itself is brilliant on a warm night; when the lights are up, it feels like you’re on holiday. People can sit here, have a glass of wine and feel like they’re abroad. We’ve had people say they could close their eyes while eating and drinking and feel they’re in a bar on the backstreets of a Spanish city. That’s what we’re about.”
Nam Sông (or ‘that orange place with all the lanterns’) scarcely needs introduction, such is its popularity/Insta fame and the Vietnamese coffee shop, restaurant and bar has consistently won rave reviews since opening at their original site in Broomhill. Owners Jim and Melissa fell in love with Vietnam whilst travelling on their gap year and opened their first site in Broomhill in 2017, since growing to three sites, opening in Dyson Place in 2020 and venturing further afield to Leeds in 2021.
Jim told Exposed: “When the opportunity to open up in Dyson Place came along it was something we jumped at with both hands as the square is unlike anything else in Sheffield. Being off the main Sharrow Vale Road makes the square feel peaceful without traffic noise, but there’s also a great buzz from people visiting the square to create a lovely atmosphere and wonderful place to eat and drink. It makes you feel like you’re on holiday in a piazza in Italy, rather than being up north in Sheffield!”
Ahead of the restaurant’s opening towards the back-end of 2019, expectations were already extremely high for Tonco. Not only were they the first business to officially open in the new development, but a string of successful pop-ups in Abbeydale Road’s Barrowboy had created huge buzz for the neighbourhood restaurant. Thankfully, right from the very outset they didn’t disappoint (it was never really in doubt, was it?) and their regularly changing menu, reflecting seasonality, has been a massive hit with Dyson Place diners.
Being the first to open, owners Flo Hiller and Joe Shrewsbury have had the privilege of watching the square come to life, while simultaneously enjoying their own success. Flo explained: “Business has been really good. We were the first to open so it’s been really nice to watch all the other places open up and it become a really buzzy, well-received area.”
“It’s really nice and having the outdoor space, it feels like you’re in a European square rather than a busy road in Sheffield. We’re renowned for being such an outdoor city but there aren’t that many squares which have businesses integral to them, where you can sit in and not be surrounded by cars. It’s also really lovely having a mix of residential and commercial units.”
Bear & Babe
Harking back to Sheffield’s long history of craftsmanship, a small passageway leads to the Artisans’ Yard where you’ll find luxury children’s clothing brand Bear and Babe. With a focus on colourful, gender-neutral clothing, everything here is handmade and created by co-owners Mary and Pete and their team of seamstresses on-site in their cosy studio space. One of the first units to take residence at Dyson Place, they opened in October 2019 and have since witnessed the development become the destination it is today.
“We love it. Being here right from the start we’ve seen it go from strength to strength,” says Pete. “Cornerstone opening felt like the missing piece really; people can really utilise the outdoor space now. It’s a nice spot where you can get away from the busyness of the main road – a little oasis.”
Arubia Skin & Aesthetics Clinic
Providing ethical, high-quality aesthetics, skin, lashes and brow treatments, Arubia Skin & Aesthetics pride themselves on giving honest professional advice along with an individual tailored treatment plan for both male and female clients, ensuring their goals are taken into consideration, and always striving for natural results.
Owner Ru Boyle is a registered dental hygienist with over 25 years’ experience in dentistry, which has given her in depth knowledge and skills in facial anatomy, physiology and cross infection control, that she applies to my facial aesthetics treatments.
After being part of the square’s Artisans’ Yard for around a year, Ru told Exposed: “We love the vibe of Dyson Place, along with the privacy of our private courtyard, walking round from the main courtyard into a haven of peace and quiet. Plus, we love the community spirit we have we all the other businesses… it’s such a friendly, happy place to be.”
Life + Lemons
Pinning their colours to the Artisans’ Yard mast are Life + Lemons, a whole systems, integrative healthcare clinic combining acupuncture, nutrition, herbal medicine and talk therapy, for those bitter sweet moments in life and health. Established by Kimberley Shepherd, lead acupuncturist and clinical director, they are passionate about changing the way we approach women’s health and healing.
Kimberley said: “Dyson Place has a strong collective of independent businesses who fuel each other, and have been a beautiful support through difficult times this past 18 months. It’s been great seeing how each business has evolved and gone from strength to strength. It feels like we’re a team, which is so important when you work small and independently.”
Lighting the way in terms of Dyson Place’s retail offering is independent Sheffield interior, furniture and neon light specialist Inco. Opened five years by Rachel Woolhouse in Woodseats, Inco were one of the first retail businesses to open, bringing their eclectic mix of new, vintage and upcycled furniture to the square just days before the first lockdown last year. Despite the inauspicious start, Rachel and Pete are loving the buzz and community feel of their new home.
Rachel explained: “We opened six days before lockdown one which wasn’t great timing! Now it’s back open, it’s great down here. It’s a really nice community feel, everybody kind of knows each other and it’s really nice place to work, actually. Sharrow Vale is very much a community anyway, and I think here is just an extension of that. It’s very, very busy now and everyone seems to know each other and we’re all just supporting each other.
Popular barbers Rapscallions made their name on Ecclesall Road, before relocating to Dyson Place and becoming a member of the development’s original cohort of businesses. Co-owners Paul Stone and Matthew Harley use hashtag #morethanjustacut and it’s something they are keen to emphasise. Paul explains: “I think we’re slightly different to some barber shops; we’re not just a run of the mill, conveyor belt type shop. We’ve never been the type of barbershop that wants to kick people out in 20 minutes, we build a bit more rapport with our customers.
“It’s kind of the whole thing, it’s more than just a cut. We felt there’s too much emphasis on turning up to work on a penny-farthing and having all the traditional stuff, and we just wanted a nice, relaxed atmosphere for customers. I think we’ve created it and the customers seem happy. We like the fact that it’s a bit off the beaten track, it’s a hidden gem almost, and it attracts a nice clientele.”
Unit 6 at Dyson Place is another recent addition to the courtyard. It’s a pop-up paradise on-hand to welcome local creatives, retailers, artists and more into a shared retail space where start-ups and small businesses can build up their customer base.
With the high street going through a difficult period, not to mention the cost of commercial rents, the flexibility of short-term pop-up opportunities help to provide a safer option for growth. If you’re interested in joining Unit 6 – or you know someone who might be – drop ‘em a message via the ‘contact us’ section online or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nook Hair is Sheffield’s first gender neutral, sustainable and eco-conscious salon. Opened by Hannah Emmerich in July 2020, she offers a range of hairdressing services and HD brows. Hannah boldly decided to start a business as a one-woman show in a global pandemic, aiming to create a calm environment, and a space to relax while she creates beautiful hair.
Hannah explains: “We choose brands that put our planet first and recycle through Green Salon Collective, making sure to reuse and recycle where possible we call it hairdressing with conscience. Choosing to set up a salon within Dyson place was a no brainier. Being nestled amongst some fantastic restaurants and hidden just off Sharrow Vale road has been fantastic. The buzzing courtyard is the perfect backdrop from within the salon and great for that after-work drink!”
The courtyard is open seven days a week. Click on the individual tenants to see the hours they are operating, as individual stores may operate at reduced hours.