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With empty storefronts, editorial board brainstorms ideal Uptown

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Last week, at Oxford's city council meeting, Council Member Steve Snyder reminded us of what the city does not need.

"Personally, I don't think this community needs additional student housing," he said. "I also think we don't need vape stores and hookah bars, and that we have an overabundance of niche restaurants. But that's not up to me. That's decided by our free market system."

That meddling free market system aside, there are a couple suggestions that we would like to propose - some things Oxford does need.

A bookstore. Not a textbook store - not another Follets or Duboise. What we're calling for is something greater than the New York Times bestsellers and Miami apparel. What we're calling for is a cramped, dusty, quirky, independent, mom and pop bookshop that sells new and used books, magazines, records and maybe a cup of coffee on the side.

A bakery. Oxford lacks a classic bakery, complete with the smell of fresh bread wafting out early in the morning and inviting passersby to come inside. A place to grab a homemade muffin or a croissant for breakfast, if you don't like the generic taste of Starbucks, or pick up a toasty baguette for dinner on the way home.

Or what about a place to order a unique birthday cake for a friend? Nothing against Kroger cakes, but sometimes chocolate, vanilla or marble just doesn't cut it. Sometimes you need something special. From cinnamon rolls to scones, having a bakery conveniently located on High Street would be a pretty sweet deal.

A juice bar and smoothie shop. Aside from on-campus stops like King Café and Armstrong, there is nowhere in Oxford that supplies smoothies. For those who don't want to break the bank paying five bucks a cup, these frozen drinks are a rare splurge. The juice-and-smoothie-serving tent at the weekly Oxford Farmer's Market seems to be successful, and there is no doubt in our minds that a full-time shop would do even better.

Miami students would line up out the door for menu items like pure fruit and vegetable juices to promote a healthy lifestyle, or smoothies spiked with double scoops of whey protein. We'd drink to that.

A noodle shop. Pasta is basically the bread and butter of college students' eating habits. It's cheap, fast and easy to make, and provides a one-pot comfort meal. But boiling noodles on our own stovetops might not be letting them live up to their full potential. Noodles are versatile, and a noodle shop would offer endless options. Italian spaghetti, pad thai, Asian stir-fry, or all American mac 'n' cheese could all be available in one wonderful place.

A movie theatre. The recurrent debacles at The Princess have left Miami students and Oxford residents without a local movie theatre. The closest are in Hamilton, Northgate and Westchester.

Instead of a revamped apartment project, the historic Princess could have been renovated to the benefit of the entire community. Many cities are turning historic buildings into hip, bar/movie theatre combinations that serve classic cocktails and show old and indie movies.

This could be a laidback response to outlandish bars like Brick Street and The Woods. Craft beer and Casablanca would be ideal. So would an old-time facade (cough, cough).

With the plethora of closed storefronts Uptown, from the vacant windows of Bill's Art Store to the empty tables of Morning Sun, Oxford has an opportunity to promote unique businesses that will help the city thrive.