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Witney record store expands to Oxford
OXFORD is set to get an independent record store again which owners hope will become a hub for local music.
Rapture, which already has branches in Witney and Evesham, is to move into the former Videosyncratic video store in Cowley Road, East Oxford, from next month.
Rapture owner, Gary Smith, said: “We did the OX4 (mini-festival), which included a lot of workshops and gigs around the Cowley Road, and opened a shop as part of that just for one day.
“The guys from the Truck Festival said it would be a great idea to have a record shop for one day, as Oxford is sorely missing a record store.
“We did it, and had a really great response. Lots of people were saying they wish we were here permanently, so we said we would look into it.”
The store, which is yet to be named, will be run by the team from Rapture with marketing help from festival organisers Truck, and is set to open on February 10.
Rapture opened its first store in the Woolgate Centre, in Witney, in 2004.
Mr Smith said: “It is very exciting. Basically, we will be using our experience and contacts and relationships with record companies that we have built up with the two stores we have got.
“It is a real shame with Oxford’s musical history and legacy, and with the current crop of bands based in and around the city, that there is no decent independent shop.”
Polar Bear records, which was based in Cowley Road opposite the now O2 Academy, was the street’s last shop selling new CDs, and closed three years ago.
The new shop will stock CDs and vinyl, as well as comics and gig tickets, and is also expected to host live performances.
Rapture in Witney has recently hosted gigs by Scouting for Girls and McFly.
Mr Smith denied it was a risk to open a shop in the current economic situation. He said: “It is a risk, but when we opened in Witney six years ago, people said it was a risky business back then, but we are still here and going strong.
“Judging by the response we got when we opened for one day, there is a market for us.”
He added: “We pride ourselves on customer service and stock knowledge.
“That is what people will get, friendly staff, great stock and great customer service.”