Two basketballs on a shelf in a sports shop, with the price stickers with the shop name 'Blue Blood'


Former employees have opened a new sports shop in the Covered Market

Published: 2 February 2019

Author: Richard Lofthouse


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The closing of Elmer Cotton Sports before Christmas, late in 2018, was widely considered to be a net loss to Oxford. But luckily, and pluckily, some former employees have stuck together and have opened an entirely new business in the Covered Market in the beautiful unit that used to be occupied by Macsamillion, the shoe shop, across from Nash the baker.

Staff of Blue Blood outside the shop in the Covered Market

From Left: Ben Cook, Steliana Stefanova and Dale Harris


Dale Harris, Ben Cook and Steliana Stefanova have spent every working minute since the New Year preparing the premises, and last week put the finishing touches to the unit with new signs hung outside bearing the new name, Blue Blood Sports.  

With over three decades of experience in the business between them, Dale’s team intimately understanding local needs and the complex borders of Town and Gown, terms and vacations. Dale says, ‘It’s been a very good experience opening up here. Yes, obviously, it’s been non-stop work, but the other unit holders have been really kind, like family – Nash gave us all these delicious biscuits the day we opened.’

The exterior of an empty shop, the former site of Elmer Cotton Sports

The premises of former Elmer Cotton Sports in Turl Street, which opened in 1911, lie empty in January 2019


In an earlier story we ran here, it wasn’t clear whether Blue Blood Sports was to continue the Elmer business in some way. While the shop provides continuity of service and the same high quality access to real sporting needs as opposed to athleisure wear that now so dominates the high street, Ben clarifies that Blue Blood is a totally separate entity, trading under its own name.

‘We know this business inside and out. While it will be the end of an era in one sense, we are confident of our new project and will remain within very easy walking distance of all the city centre colleges. When someone needs a mouthguard on a Saturday morning, we’ll have it for them. That’s quicker than Amazon Prime, incidentally. You stroll in and you buy it. We know what students want and we keep the right stock levels at the right times of the year.’