Blackwell’s Art and Poster Shop may be in danger of being overshadowed by the family-run chain’s main branch across the street.
But while tourists inevitably head straight to the famous bookstore at 48-51 Broad Street, the poster shop staff want to make sure they are as competitive as possible, like the manga cartoon characters they now have on the shelves.
The Oxford poster shop opened over 30 years ago in what was previously another chain’s bookstore.
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Manager Tamsin Evans-Higgs said staff felt positive as lockdown conditions eased.
She said the footfall in the store is increasing and she is confident there will be a steady stream of customers throughout the summer.
Ms. Evans-Higgs said: “After the reopening in April, the number of visitors has really increased.
“There was a big rush in April and it was insanely busy during the semester break – I think we are gently preparing for a pretty good summer.”
The manager, who is in charge of a team of full and part-time workers, said they were gradually seeing a lot of British day-trippers.
She has worked for Blackwell’s for 17 years and has been running the poster shop for three years.
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In recent years the store has re-focused on graphic novels and the store is expanding its inventory of board games, leveling with the city’s Thirsty Meeples game café in Gloucester Green.
Ms. Evans-Higgs added, “We want to remind people that we are here and that we have a team of people with expertise in games, art and graphic novels.
“We rely heavily on the expertise of our graphic novel buyer Chiara Mestieri.
“She has been in charge of the section for five years and her knowledge and skills in this area know no bounds.
“Our latest promotion is based on her passion for graphic novels and shows the 70 most important titles of our team – we get a lot of young people who come for graphic novels – it’s worth browsing!”
The shop recently launched games, including role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, as well as an ever-expanding board game section of puzzles and gifts curated by a “game guru” who is always on hand to recommend a new one to the shop Introduced game – regardless of whether it is an intensive strategic board game or easy family fun.
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Posters and prints are popular with students and residents, especially the Oxford Pubcrawl poster.
It’s the store’s most popular poster with students, tourists, and locals alike. Ms. Evans-Higgs added, “Blackwell’s Art & Poster Shop is a unique shopping experience in Oxford.
“The expertise and passion of our team for art, graphic novels and games is outstanding.
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“We’ve had a tough 18 months, but it’s wonderful to be back and welcoming our customers again.”