Oxford - Out With the Old and In With the New
UPDATED TO CORRECTLY IDENTIFY NAMES
Sad and hopeful news for the Town of Oxford this evening. In a downtown core with too many empty spaces and a few boarded-up buildings, another one is coming down.
On Water Street, beside the well-known G-J-D-E store run by Eric Mosher, sits a boarded-up, faded-blue shop that was last home to a barber named Harry Fowler.
From the 40s through the 70s, that was the place to go for fathers and sons who needed a trim and a bit of local gossip. The other side of the shop was, for a time, the Sears catalogue mail-order outlet.
Mosher had contracted local carpenter Jeff Wood, of A-Plus Gutters, to renovate the building. Shortly after preparations to replace the roof, it was determined that the structure was too rotten to go forward. Demolition is expected to start tomorrow.
Before we spend too much time lamenting the loss of Fowler's Barbershop, there is consolation in knowing that the building will be rebuilt, and may eventually become home to a new local restaurant.
Asked why he was investing in a restaurant, Mosher says, last year, during the pandemic, he experienced his best year ever with his store. He says clients often asked about nearby places to eat, and he feels a bistro would stand out among local offerings.
The building that replaces it will look much the same, according to Mosher. The front will gain an overhang to allow for the lighting he has planned, and the design will be "kind of Italian". The planned bistro — likely to open in a year's time — will be garden-themed and be paired with a garden supply business in the other half of the building.
Mosher hopes eventually to open a farmer's market on the property as well.
He believes that shoppers are beginning to tire of the big-box store experience and have become more aware of what's in their own backyard. Mosher feels people are recognizing what has been lost in terms of local businesses, and appreciate the difficulties faced by those who are trying to keep their businesses open.
He hopes that means an investment in a small town will pay off in the long run.
1940s photo courtesy of the Pictorial History of Oxford Facebook Group / Greg Henley and current photos by Mark Rushton.
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