Making the move from the bustling Clarendon Park area was difficult; what does Stoneygate have to offer in comparison? No Jones’ Cafe Bistro or Barceloneta. No Vintage Utopia or All About Daisy. However, a stroll down Allandale Road and Francis Street gave me a lot of hope, which grew and grew after each step down an alleyway into Outerspace.
The best part of exploring somewhere new is finding its hidden gems, and Outerspace Home and Garden Centre is definitely a hidden gem in Leicester. Entering through a large fairylight covered archway into an alleyway surrounded by unique water features and quirky barbecues, you suddenly realise how empty your garden is as you step through the door. With extraordinary ornaments and furniture at every turn, scented candles burning and nature sounds for music, there is a clear aim to appeal to each of the customer’s senses.
Outerspace was founded in 2008 by husband and wife team Andy and Sue Suffolk and their children Hannah and Jack. The family business started at a unit in Wistow Rural Centre and has since expanded to Francis Street in Stoneygate.
Hannah explained: “With a gap in the market for quirky and contemporary garden ornaments and furniture, we knew there was potential to make a success out of providing people with unique products.
“It was 2012 when we opened our larger store in Stoneygate. We found a unit down an alleyway and instantly got the gut feeling that this was the ideal place for the brand. The extra space enabled us to sell larger items such as plants, furniture and sculptures.”
Not your average home and garden centre, the products sold in Outerspace are unparalleled: water features made out of water cans and spades, garden egg chairs and decorative wooden stick lanterns. So what inspires the products?
“You’ll notice that there are a few quirky items that you wouldn’t see in a chain store which is a huge part of our appeal. We’re extremely particular about what we stock, we have over 100 different suppliers that range from local designers just down the road to artists in Zimbabwe.”
With a beautiful environment inside and outside of the Stoneygate shop and a suntrap for a courtyard, the family decided to add a cafe selling cakes, sandwiches and coffee so that customers could make use of the garden furniture whilst they shop.
This isn’t the only time they have used their products to create an inviting atmosphere. The business has a reputation for creating fantastic Christmas displays: “We transform our shops into Winter Wonderlands, where we condense our garden products and predominantly sell selection of decorations, lights, freshly cut Christmas trees and gifts.”
Stoneygate hosts mostly independent businesses that offer something just that little bit more special than what you may discover in Leicester’s City Centre and Outerspace is a big part of that.
“There’s such a great range of businesses in the area, and you’ll find that behind each shop is a down to earth owner and small team with a huge passion for what they do. There’s such a brilliant community of residents in the area too who support the local businesses, who we love to see on a daily basis.”
Find Outerspace at Francis Street in Stoneygate and Kibworth Road in Wistow.