A COFFEE shop chain is to open a new branch in Oxford city centre - where a family-run cafe failed to thrive.

Black Sheep, which has branches throughout the capital, is to open in the George Street unit previously occupied by Ratio cafe.

Ratio cafe was opened by Oxford-based Arthur Vissing and his wife Ezgi in early 2018.

But by September this year the business was in trouble and the cafe, which sold coffee sourced from Bath-based Round Hill Roastery, closed.

Oxford Mail:

There were five full-time staff and five part-time staff at the café next to Franco Manca pizza restaurant and it was open seven days a week.

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Mr Vissing said in 2018 he had made a considerable investment in the business, taking out a 15-year lease and before it closed it was often busy.

Now chain Black Sheep is hoping it can succeed where Ratio cafe failed.

It has 29 branches across the capital and four in Manchester and says the George Street cafe will be opening tomorrow.

Branches in the capital include those in Shoreditch, Goodge Street, Chancery Lane, Canary Wharf, Aldate and Bank.

In 2013, co-founders Gabriel Shohet and Eirik Holt decided to quit their jobs on the same day and rid the world of average-tasting coffee.

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The co-founders remain actively involved in the business as co-CEOs and continue to travel the world to source the best beans while spreading Black Sheep Coffee's message.

Sourcing the first specialty-grade 100 per cent Robusta coffee, they went against the market trends and became the ‘Black Sheep’ of the coffee world, continuing that ethos throughout the brand.

Oxford Mail:

The website, which urges customers to ‘leave the herd behind’, said: “Combining a passion for coffee and a mission to take down the big corporate chains, Black Sheep have preserved the independence of the brand by harnessing support and funding from their own customers and those who believe in the values of the company."

As well as the company’s Robusta, the chain offers a selection of four different Arabica coffee beans; Love Berries, Blue Volcano, Rebel Decaf and Seasonal Limited-Editions.

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While Black Sheep is opening in the city centre, another cafe in Botley Road appears to have closed.

Oxford Mail:

In September Cafe 61 was launched, when a new owner took over the lease from High Fidelity Cafe, which was open for about 18 months until owner Chris Irons moved to Bristol.

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But it looks like the new venture has not been a success as there is a sign up saying closed and a ‘shop to let’ board in the window. Other businesses are concerned about proposals to remove parking bays.