Customers who like to buy Fairtrade goods are being reminded that there is a specialist shop in Headington.

The Fairtrade shop in Cornmarket, in Oxford city centre, which had been running for 20 years, closed earlier this year due to a reduction in footfall. 

The shop was located in the basement of a building next to St Michael at the North Gate church.

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Dave Brown, a volunteer at the Fairtrade shop in London Road, Headington, said: "The cause of Fairtrade in Oxford (a Fairtrade city since 2004) continues to thrive through our Headington Fairtrade shop in London Road, which has been trading since 2010.

"I am one of a team of volunteers who help run this attractive shop, selling primarily a wide range of attractive gift products produced by small suppliers overseas who are paid a fair price for their labours by registered Fairtrade importers.

"The shop has recently undergone a refurbishment, and there are new product ranges including toys for younger children."

Oxford Mail: Inside the former Fairtrade shop

Directors of the Cornmarket shop took the decision to close it 'with heavy hearts' after sales and footfall failed to return to pre-pandemic levels.

They claimed central Oxford was no longer a 'destination of choice' following the relaunch of the Westgate Centre in 2017.

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Kate Goodacre, director, of Oxford Fairtrade Cooperative Ltd, said she and her fellow directors were frustrated that circumstances forced them to close a shop which worked so well for 20 years.

She added: "The closure comes at at a time when fair trade is needed as urgently as ever, when shoppers are increasingly keen to buy ethical and sustainable goods, and when we have a clientele of passionately loyal customers who are heart-broken to see us go.

"Some of the challenges of the past two to three years - like Covid and inflation - are of course challenges on a national scale, but there's a chance that we could have weathered these if only local circumstances had been more favourable.

"But the state of Oxford city centre now make it impossible for small independent businesses to thrive, and so the downward spiral of decline continues apace - and there's no indication of any joined-up thinking from the city council to reverse this trend, despite their assertions that they support small businesses and are proud to be a Fairtrade City."

Oxford Mail: Inside the former Fairtrade shop

The church shop at the front entrance of the building where the Fairtrade shop operated remains open.

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While there are a number of empty units in Cornmarket, including the former Burger King, the city council says there is positive news to counter this, including the opening of the new The Store hotel, on the site of the former Boswells department store.

It is expected to open by 'late summer'.