Eight new shops are opening in Oxford Covered Market in the run-up to Christmas.
Several of the new stores, which include permanent and pop-up, have already opened, and the remaining will open over the coming weeks.
Many of the new shops will offer unique Christmas decorations, gifts and food.
The permanent new traders include:
- Oxford Soap Company, a local independent company offering hand-made cosmetics, will be opening on Tuesday (13/11)
- Fedele of Oxford, an Oxford-based business opening its first store and offering high-quality leather goods, will be opening in the next two weeks
Both these traders will open in the former Helen & Douglas House unit, which Oxford City Council has split specifically to meet the needs of these businesses.
Meanwhile, the new pop-up shops include:
- The Garden opened a pop-up store on the 29th October in the former Hedges Butchers’ unit, selling Christmas trees, wreathes, garlands, and decorations. The shop will be open until Christmas
- Wicked Chocolate opened a pop-up store on the 3rd November in part of the former Macsamillion, selling artisan chocolate and Christmas gifts. The shop will be open until Christmas
- A pop-up store selling Christmas biscuits, gingerbread, stollen and panettone will open in the remaining part of the former Macsamillion unit in mid-November. The shop will be open until Christmas
- Cardews of Oxford opened a pop-up store on Monday (5/11) in the former Foot Foundation unit, selling kitchenware and Christmas gifts, including teas and coffees. The shop will be open until mid-January
- Bonner’s Fruit and Vegetables will expand into the former newsagent’s unit between mid-November and Christmas, selling nuts and Christmas produce
- Independent Oxford, an organisation that celebrates independent businesses in Oxford, will also open a store, in the former Dragon’s Den unit, from mid-November until Christmas. The unit will be filled with a collection of independent and local businesses that will be selling a wide range of Christmas gifts
Work to split the former fishmonger’s unit into three units to meet the needs of new traders will also be completed before Christmas. The new traders, who cannot be named at this stage, will move in soon afterwards.
The City Council received planning permission earlier this year to build three kiosk units in the former McCarthy’s Fruit and Veg unit. Work is expected to start next year.
The only other vacant unit in the Covered Market is the former Lindsey’s unit. After Lindsey’s moved out, original and historic features were discovered and the City Council is now working with Oxford Preservation Trust to preserve these.
Fifty eight of the Covered Market’s 61 units will be occupied in the run-up to Christmas. The number of units will increase to 63 once the work to the former fishmonger’s unit is complete, and to 65 once the work to the former McCarthy’s unit is complete.
Oxford City Council is in discussions with a range of traders, including some of those currently operating the pop-up stores, about taking the units on a long-term basis after Christmas.
Meanwhile, the City Council has also installed new benches outside Pieminster and in the central square near the Golden Cross entrance. The owners of The Souvlaki Brothers have also installed new benches outside their unit.
And on top of all of this, the Covered Market’s Christmas lights and Christmas tree will go up this weekend. The lights will be switched on as part of the Christmas Light Festival on Friday 16 November.
Oxford City Council is investing £3.1m into the Covered Market, which is Grade II-listed, to secure its long-term future. The investment includes £1.8m to secure the roof for another 60 to 80 years, and £1.3m for internal refurbishment, decorations and new flooring.
The public realm around the Market Street entrance to the Covered Market could also see significant improvements in the coming years, in particular with Jesus College’s redevelopment plans for Northgate House.
Oxford Covered Market, which first opened in November 1774, sells food, gifts, shoes, fashion, flowers and jewellery, and the market provides a unique showcase for the very best in local crafts, food and drink.
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Executive Board Member for Culture and City Centre, said: “Christmas is always a really exciting time of the year to experience the Covered Market. With almost all of the units now occupied, new benches installed and the Christmas decorations about to go in, the Covered Market looks incredible. I would recommend everyone visits over the coming weeks – not only to buy Christmas presents, but also look to do their weekly food shop as well.”