A GUIDEBOOK showcasing independent shops and promoting the idea of buying local has been launched in Oxford.

The 214-page Independent’s Day book has been produced by Oxford-based company Think Locally and features 85 independent stores across the city.

Paul Madison, one of the brains behind the project, said the idea of the book was to encourage those living in the city to shop locally.

He said: “We’re trying to lift the veil and show people there is so much to Oxford they might not know about.

“One of the things people who have seen the book have said to us is they thought they knew an area and realised they didn’t.

“When you visit a town for the fist time, it’s the smaller, independent stores you remember and they give a city its character.

“With the credit crunch it’s important we do all we can to support our local businesses.”

The book features photographs of the stores featured, a brief description of the businesses and what they do.

Mr Madison said: “When we came up with the design, we wanted something that people would keep on their coffee table.

“Something that would have a wow factor.

“It’s not a directory, as it doesn’t have every single independent shop. But it gives people a great idea of some of the independent stores they can find.

“The feedback we have been getting from people about it has been fantastic.”

The Independent’s Day guidebook follows on from recent calls from the Federation of Small Businesses in Oxfordshire to shop local ahead of the Christmas period, a push supported by the Oxford Mail.

According to figures released by the FSB in November, there are about 50,000 businesses in Oxfordshire and 99 per cent of those were small businesses employing 50 staff or less.

Mr Madison said Think Locally was now planning to release a second Independent’s Day guidebook in the spring.

He added: “This will feature a different range of businesses and we have already had several independent traders approach us in regards to featuring in it.”

Copies of the free guidebook can be picked up from reception at the Oxford Mail in Osney Mead, Oxford, from the stores featured in the guidebook or by emailing info@thinklocally.co.uk ckearney@oxfordmail.co.uk