IT HAS survived the recession, the bike shop two doors up burning down and even the chaos of the Cowley Road Carnival.

This month the People’s Supermarket on Cowley Road celebrated its first birthday but the road ahead is far from clear.

In a bid to boost business, the co-operative which runs the shop has handed out flyers, signed up to a “crowd source” funding website and rearranged the shop floor to make it more attractive.

Co-operative member Hannah Hoechner, 28, is originally from Germany, and is studying for a PhD in Development Studies at Oxford University.

She said that she joined the project because it was the one place in Oxford where “town” and “gown” came together.

“It brings together a wide range of interested people,” said Miss Hoechner. “I am a student and I find it difficult to find places where people from the town and students come together.”

In March the Cycle King shop two doors up from the supermarket had a fire, which saw 70 firefighters called out.

Since then, scaffolding and repair works have meant that pedestrians have been forced to cross the road. Footfall has fallen.

Shop assistant Quartus Prichardt said sales fell by 30 per cent after the fire, costing the business hundreds of pounds.

In a bid to grab back custom, volunteers went on to the streets with flyers.

The shop has also created a page on crowd sourcing website Buzzbnk, where anyone can make a donation of any size.

It has set a target of raising £20,000 by the end of October, and so far has got £600.

The store will use the money to expand its range, invest in more local producers and redesign the interior.

On July 21, staff celebrated the birthday with a party. Afterwards volunteers stayed behind until midnight, rearranging the shop.

City councillor for Iffley Fields David Williams was the shop’s first customer. He said team spirit has enabled it to survive.

He added: “They have had bad luck, but it is a seven-days-a-week farmers market.”

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