Vote of confidence as owner expands in ‘fantastic’ Banbury

Denise Wypior outside her Bluebird store which will operate from the former KT-Lu's shop in Parsons Street, Banbury. NNL-150104-111437001
Denise Wypior outside her Bluebird store which will operate from the former KT-Lu's shop in Parsons Street, Banbury. NNL-150104-111437001

A shop owner who has been based in Banbury for more than 20 years is expanding in the town she calls home.

Denise Wypior, who owns Fifth Corner on Church Lane, has taken over the shop recently vacated by Kt-Lu’s on Parsons Street, and will be re-opening it as women’s accessories store, BlueBird, later this month.

Miss Wypior and her partner, Wayne Kennedy, are also landlords of the property. Fifth Corner will remain open at its current location.

Speaking to the Banbury Guardian, Miss Wypior said the new shop was taking them back to where they started.

She said: “Twenty years ago, we started Fifth Corner and we opened it in the same place BlueBird is going to open. We moved to Church Lane 10 years later.

“When Kt-Lu’s unit became empty, I thought it was a chance to go back. It has been emotional going back to the place where it started. It is really exciting.”

BlueBird will be selling handbags, jewellery and other accessories.

A number of shops in Banbury have recently closed or have announced their closure including Ekko Salon, on High Street, and Whitcher Menswear, on Parsons Street, but Miss Wypior intends to stay put and said she couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

She said: “Banbury has always been a fantastic location. It is surrounded by beauty and culture. What hasn’t it got? It has a mix of everything.

“We have lots of people come from Oxford and they say Oxford is awful.

“We have kept the individuality of a small town, even though we have expanded a lot. We have lovely old buildings and the canal.”

She added Banbury was also in a central location, not far from the countryside, but also only a train journey away from London. Miss Wypior said: “I’m Banbury born and bred. I have never had any desire to go anywhere else.

“I don’t see what any other place can offer. Banbury is central to everywhere, it is a brilliant base and can be whatever you want.”

To address the issue of empty shops, suggestions have included free parking and bringing rates down, but Miss Wypior said a reduction in the rental rates was not necessarily the right solution.

“People say you need to bring the rates down but they are offering special deals for new people and there are other established businesses who don’t receive a deal,” she said. “It is hard for me as a business person to say what they can do to tackle empty units.

“I like the fact they are putting artwork in shop windows. It makes the empty units look more attractive.

“But there isn’t a quick fix to keep the shops filled.”