The population of Sutton was growing in the 1860s, and so the demand for services was on the increase. There were shops, scattered along High Street and Mill Street, but it was not until 1870, with the first purpose-built shops on the Parade, that Sutton people had their own shopping centre.
By 1900 there were forty-six shops along the Parade, including a tripe house at number 8 and a watchmaker at number 54. Many of the other shops were not of the kind you would find in The Mall today - there were four butchers and four grocers shops, three shoemakers and three confectioners. Tailors, drapers, chemists, greengrocers and ironmongers, two cycle shops and a saddler were also trading. When you had satisfied your everyday needs at these shops you could do more leisurely shopping in the china shop or the fancy goods store, visit the milliner or the hosiery shop, or look over the furniture.
The development of the Parade was a sign of the town’s progress, according to an article in The Sutton Coldfield and Erdington Chronicle in 1896, which ended “We now have an establishment for the sale, hire and repair of bicycles, a van for the removal of furniture, and at the commencement of the new year, as a finishing touch to our progress, or rather moving off, we have a funeral establishment.” This was S.J. Bastable, 62, Parade. There was more progress in 1901, when mains electricity came to Sutton, and the Richardson Edwards Electrical Co. opened its showroom on the Parade.
At the far end of the Parade, on the corner of Manor Road, there was a much older building, Ye Olde Pie Shoppe. Four steps led down to the shop, wirh a sign “bend or bump” warning you to duck your head. Cooked meats and pies were sold. This shop continued in business until 1913, by which time the parade of purpose-built shops extended all the way to Manor Road and the opposite side of The Parade had also been developed.