INDEPENDENT retailers in Oxford are linking up to produce a virtual map to promote their city centre stores.

Led by menswear store Walters of Oxford, the map will be designed to guide visitors to the independently owned businesses creating the interactive online community.

The management team at the historic Turl Street store came up with the idea of the map to raise awareness of ‘hidden gems’ in the city.

The virtual map will be shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The Oxford Times:

Independent retailers are being encouraged to contact Walters of Oxford if they would like to appear on the map.

It is hoped the new venture will encourage a virtual community to develop and if supported a visitor app could be later created and it could also be shared on partner websites.

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Martin Neale, general manager at Walters of Oxford, said: “There’s so much here in Oxford that makes the city special and unique.

"It’s full of history and its important independent retailers who help to make the city different are promoted and supported.

“A virtual map would serve as a guide to visitors to help people get the best out of their visit to the city and as a wider community space for retailers and customers to communicate.

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“There won’t be any costs associated with this for people to get involved - we intend for it to grow organically and everyone is welcome to be a part of it.”

The Oxford Times:

Walters of Oxford has been in the city for more than 160 years serving students, tourists and locals alike.

Mr Neale is proud the shop has retained its independence and its dedication to providing customers with a personal service.

He said. “Customer service and sharing knowledge is what we pride ourselves on.

“We always make sure customers are given the red-carpet treatment and believe in traditional service values.

“We’re a family-run business and have a people first approach and that reflects in how we treat each other and customers.”

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The shop provides academic gowns, formal wear and sports club clothing, but also general men’s wear.

Mr Neale added: “While we are steeped in tradition, we do provide clothing and accessories for men of all ages and tastes and stock many great brands.

“Our customers love the character of our shop and always tell us ‘never change’.”

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Other independent retailers that have already agreed to feature on the virtual map include Payne and Son, Scriptum, Fresh Oxford, Turl Steet Kitchen, Shepherd and Woodward, and Missing Bean.

The Oxford Times:

Matthew Cox of Shepherd and Woodward said: “We are proud to have been an independent store in Oxford for more than 150 years.

“We are the largest supplier of academic gowns and robes to the Oxford University and provide wider menswear services.”