Banbury may be miles away from the beach but shoppers can stay cool during the heatwave while supporting independent retailers.
Traders in the Old Town have teamed up to create the ‘Parsons Street beach’ which shoppers can enjoy with a bottle of water by spending £10 in participating stores.
The bright idea comes as Independent Retailer Month starts on Sunday, urging people across the country to back their independent traders and boost their local economy.
Banbury Old Town Association chairman and owner of The Artery cafe, Barry Whitehouse, said the deckchairs and inflatable palm tree have gone down well with shoppers.
“They think it’s a fantastic idea from what I have seen and heard as it’s something very different which you don’t see in Banbury every day,” he said.
The hope is to attract more people to the Old Town during the summer and show the difference the independents make to a town.
Barry believes the key is changing shoppers’ mindset so they think to try the independent stores before big brands or online, as more money spent in the town is beneficial to everyone.
“We’ve got a bit of everything here and the beach is a good way of getting people to think, ‘well it’s sunny I will see what shops are about and enjoy the weather’,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s good to pretend you’re a tourist as I speak to many who love Banbury so seeing it from their perspective can reveal something new. Plus 80p of every £1 spent in independent stores stays in the town’s economy as we support other businesses and employ local people.
“So the more money spent with us means more nice things for the town.”