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The “safe space” community shop on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal

EZ Hampers is Lisa Storey's first business after a career in nursing and social care.

Lisa Storey, owner of EZ Hampers

“We need to be a bit kinder to each other and that's what we're trying to do.”

For Lisa Storey, this is no empty promise.

Through a career in nursing and social care - latterly as head of service for children with disabilities in Birmingham - Lisa has first-hand experience of how hard life can be for the less fortunate.

It’s why she wants her first business, a community gift shop called EZ Hampers (pronounced ‘Ez’ after her daughter Erin) on the banks of the Bridgewater Canal, to be a “safe space” for people with mental health or other disabilities.

EZ Hampers by the Bridgewater Canal

It all started in her back room during lockdown.   

After receiving a gift hamper, Lisa realised that neither she nor her son could eat half the items because they have certain allergies.

So, egged on by friends who had been impressed by the hampers she used to make for people’s birthdays, she started creating and selling hampers to fit any dietary need, from gluten-free to kosher.

The business proved popular and Lisa soon moved into an office in Carrington, before Selbourne Group - who own the arches underneath the old Broadheath viaduct - offered her a vacant unit right on the banks of the canal that had recently been vacated by a dog grooming parlour.

“I came down and thought it was perfect,” said Lisa.

Step inside today and the back-room EZ Hampers has transformed into an Aladdin’s Cave of locally made gifts and charity-based products.

Some of the locally made products inside EZ Hampers

There are freshly-cut flowers from Remi Blooms, skincare products from Betty Hula, handmade clay earrings from EriClay or small-batch Mancunian gin from Lucky Bee.

There’s also some beautiful artwork across the walls, with works by the likes of Jane Fraser and Anne Earnshaw

And while coffee is expertly taken care of by Kickback Coffee next door, EZ Hampers does have the winning combination of draught Guinness or Estrella, a glass of Cotes de Provence - or ice creams for the kids.

Events, too, are a key aspect of life down by the canal at EZ Hampers.

There are rum or whiskey nights, photography and crocheting classes, and in May there was a food tasting event celebrating the wonders of foraging.

Some of the local art in EZ Hampers

Twenty children with disabilities recently arrived by barge from a school in Old Trafford, and menopause and wellbeing evenings have also proved popular. 

“People's mental health is often about isolation,” added Lisa. “We have lots of women who come in and who would be quite isolated otherwise.”

The response from locals has so far been “phenomenal”, added Lisa, who would love other local suppliers to get in touch.

“We have exciting plans for the future and how we can ensure this beautiful space is for the whole community.”

EZ Hampers, Arch 3, Viaduct Rd, Altrincham WA14 5DU. Visit or follow @ezhampers on Instagram or @EZH on Facebook.