Oxford office space business Offices.co.uk is encouraging its clients to do all their shopping at local independent businesses over the next three months. The ‘Spend Locally in Oxford’ campaign is based on research that suggests that 63p of every £1 spent in a small independent shop stays within the local economy, compared with just 40p spent in a chain store.
Small, independent shops are likely to be harder hit by the economic downturn so we can all do our bit to help them out, by reconsidering how we shop. While the challenge to stick fully to independent shops for three months may be ambitious for individuals, there are loads of opportunities in Oxford to switch up your non-essential shopping. With social distancing still being the order of the day, smaller shops provide a less busy environment where you can avoid the crowds and queues, while finding products that are locally made or sourced, and consequently unique.
In addition to the food and drink businesses offering takeaway and delivery, here are some ideas for recently-reopened shops to check out, and the steps they have taken to remain as pandemic-proof as possible:
Flex your new-found creativity with some new art supplies! The family-run shop has changed its layout to provide more space for social distancing, and has introduced a one-way system and screens to ensure maximum safety. Currently open Mon, Tue, Thu-Sat 10am-4pm (closed for lunch 12.30-1pm) - and if you would prefer to shop from home, they have free delivery within the ring road, or minimum spend £20 for further afield.
Visiting a gallery is a great way to take in some culture while keeping your distance from other people. Contemporary and Pop Art specialists Dantzig Gallery in Woodstock is currently open by appointment only - get in touch on to arrange a visit. Sarah Wiseman Gallery in Summertown is now open for its usual hours (Mon 10am-4pm, Tue-Sat 10am-5.30pm) with a heightened health and safety regime, including limiting visitor numbers at busier times. The online shop remains open.
Fair Trade at St Michael’s
Shoppers are limited to 3 at a time via an innovative ‘traffic light’ system. There is hand sanitiser available for customers to use when arriving and leaving, and disposable masks if you don’t have your own (as well as some lovely Fair Trade reusable ones available to buy!). Currently, the revised opening hours are Mon, Thurs, Fri and Sat, 11am-2.30pm.
The beloved Broad Street booksellers have taken lots of steps and precautions to ensure maximum health and safety, including physical distancing in the shop, one way systems and a maximum capacity, quarantining and sanitizing books that have been browsed, perspex screens at tills and enquiry points. The layout of the shop over all three floors has been changed to allow more space for safely distanced browsing and hand sanitizer is available to all customers. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 10 to 6 and Sunday 11 to 5. Customers can still shop online at www.Blackwells.co.uk.
Hand washing, cleaning and hygiene according to the Government guidelines. The shop team will all be wearing masks, and ask all customers to use hand sanitiser on arrival, so that you can touch products safely. Maximum 3 customers in the shop at any time. They have stopped online deliveries but have a pre-order service available to minimise in-person contact: phone 01865 794 176 or email your order to [email protected] Until 3rd July, 10% of takings will go to charity. June opening hours are Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm.
The Cowley-based cavern of pre-loved treasure will reopen its doors on Thurs 25th June, after which point the opening hours will be Tues, Thurs, Sat & Sun, 10.30am-4.30pm - the size of the warehouse means plenty of space to keep your distance. If clutter has been piling up while you’ve been at home (or you no longer have use for those lockdown jigsaw puzzles!), you can drop off donations on Mon, Wed and Fri, 10.30am-4.30pm, from 26th June. All donations will be quarantined for 72 hours before they go on sale, and at the moment the team can’t accept furniture, electricals or kids’ toys.
The Covered Market
Whether you need fresh meat and fish, fruit and veg, clothing, cosmetics, or speciality tea and coffee - the Covered Market has it all, and it reopened on 15th June, with reduced hours of Monday-Sat, 9am-5pm (some shops are now also open on Sundays). Measures to ensure social distancing include a marked one-way system; reduced number of entrances (currently Market Street and High Street); hand sanitiser available at entrances and stalls, social distancing stewards; removal of A-boards and other potential obstacles, for maximum space; an enhanced cleaning regime. See the full list of traders here.
Gloucester Green Market
The outdoor market has reduced the number of stalls to allow more space, but still boasts a varied range of vendors offering everything from artisan food to antique fixtures and fittings. 9am-4pm Wed and Thu, 9am-5pm Fri and Sat.
Kassam Stadium car boot sale
The popular Sunday fixture is back on, providing both a great opportunity for sellers (£10 per car) and bargain hunters (free to browse) alike. Official opening hours are 7.30am-2.30pm. There are distancing markers for queues for popular stalls, and car parking bays are alternately marked and crossed out, so that stalls are further apart.