Banbury indies gearing up for special shopping days ahead

Banbury's Old Town has dozens of independent retailers just waiting to be discoveredBanbury's Old Town has dozens of independent retailers just waiting to be discovered
Banbury's Old Town has dozens of independent retailers just waiting to be discovered

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Banbury Old Town Association has only just reformed but is already promoting ways to encourage visitors to the town to make good use of the numerous independent retailers that make Banbury a unique shopping experience.

Barry Whitehouse, owner of The Artery art shop and chairman of the former group for six years, made the decision to restart the association to help highlight how important the independent businesses are to the town centre.

“We still see many misleading comments locally from people who think the town has no shops worth visiting, and so the Old Town Association wants to create a more positive narrative and show the people of Banbury just how many amazing shops we do have," said Barry.

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From Black Friday this week to the mad rush for last minute Christmas gifts Banbury's Old Town has a number of dates to put in your diary:

November 25 to 29 is Just A Card week, a national campaign to highlight independent and creative businesses, and show that every single purchase, no matter how small makes a big difference.

It might be just a card, just a sweet, just a book, or just a cup of tea, but all the small purchases add up and help keep shops open. The more people who make small purchases, the bigger the difference that can be made.

Many of the old town businesses will be creating social media posts along the same theme during the week.

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Friday, November 29 is known as Black Friday, but in Banbury it's been rechristened Indie Friday (which is part of Just A Card Week) and is about celebrating the little shops that are the back bone of our towns. Look out for some special offers.

On Saturday, December 7, Small Business Saturday returns, which is a great way for people to call into the town centre and wander around the streets and lanes to try and visit as many shops as they can.

There will be a ‘stranger in the window’ competition where shops will have random objects they don’t sell on display in their window.

Youngsters are invited to go around the participating shops and find all of the objects. The completed forms will be put into a hat, and one prize winner picked out.

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Thursday, December 12 is late night opening in the old town until 8pm. There’ll be festive music from Banbury FM played throughout the day, carol singing, people dressed in Christmas costumes, and as the light fades, the fire juggler will wander around.

Barry added: "We want people to fall in love with their town centre again, and to support it.

"People don’t have to spend a lot to make a difference: if every adult in Banbury spent just £5 a week in their independent shops, it would generate £9 million pounds back into the local economy, making the town centre thrive, keeping existing businesses open who could employ more staff, and also attract new businesses to the area.

”Banbury has bucked the national trend and has seen a new business open almost every month since the summer, but the town still needs people to support it. If you haven’t shopped in Banbury for a while, make the trip and see just what it has to offer.

For more information visit the Old Town Facebook page which includes a list of all 160+ independent businesses of Banbury so you can browse the bespoke retailers right on your doorstep.