Karime Hassan is Exeter City Council’s Chief Executive and Growth Director. Originally from Cardiff, Karime has been in Devon for almost 20 years and lives with his wife Sharon and family. InExeter met with Karime to find out his favourite indie haunts in the city.
Why are indie businesses so important to our city?
Exeter is increasingly becoming a destination for independent shopping – these businesses give our city heart. They are a vital and vibrant part of the city’s retail and foodie mix. We are in an age where the high street needs to offer an experience that you cannot get online and independent retailers play a key role in this. Spending time in a beautiful shop or cafe, chatting to the owner who has personally created it and making a purchase feels very different to clicking ‘buy’ online.
Tell us where you grab your morning coffee…
I love a good coffee and Exeter has some fantastic local coffee shops – among my favourites are Devon Coffee on Queen Street, Camper Coffee in McCoys Arcade and the Exploding Bakery on the Central Station plaza – the latter also makes and sells incredible cakes. Artigianos is great too – it has a fantastic ambience and some delicious sandwiches.
For breakfast, Tea on the Green is one of my first choices. The setting is, of course, stunning and the food is exceptional.
How about a lunch out?
I have a weakness for the fish and chips at Lloyds – it is delicious and the customer service there is second to none. I am pleased that Lloyd has been able to open the Lounge opposite the original restaurant in Catherine Square.
Exeter’s got a pretty impressive cultural scene. Where do you recommend people explore?
The city’s art scene is flourishing – businesses and galleries selling and displaying exhibitions in the city enhance the experience for visitors and shoppers, galleries including the South Gate Gallery, the Surridge Gallery, Castle Fine Art and the AWEsome art space on Paris Street as well as fantastic exhibitions at venues including the RAMM, the Phoenix together offer a wonderful opportunity for art lovers.