But the last 10 years have been touch and go. When The Oracle opened in 1999, this part of town lost its soul and its customers.
Friars Walk, once a glitzy new arcade, died a death and when the former Market Way was demolished for the Broad Street Sainsbury’s, it was said albeit quietly, the Friar Street shop would close.
That it stayed open, it was often said, was to keep out rivals. But that was nearly 10 years ago. Since then it’s had a refit and now caters for both the office workers and the old people whose buses stop nearby, not to mention the usual Friar Street crowd.
Once one of the firm’s biggest, it’s now a mid-sized shop (even though it was extended many years ago), it’s in an unorthodox location that would never be built today yet it seems to have a stronger foothold than almost any other.