CHESTER is a charismatic city filled with dozens of independent businesses. The charming city offers a unique shopping experience due to its famous two-tier shops. Both floors of ‘The Rows’ host a variety of different boutiques, café’s and restaurants which cater to most shoppers needs. After the recent success of Independent Business Saturday we decided to take a look at some of our favourites :
Roly’s Fudge is a family run business located on the beautifully cobbled Watergate Street. The quirky little shop is ran by the delightful Lindsay Riley and her daughter, Gina Riley. The idea for Roly’s originally came from their family home in Devon where they often made their specialty fudge. Their family recipe was so good that they decided to make a living out of selling their fudge. They have not looked back since as their unique business flourishes in Chester. Each day they create their home made fudge in the front of the shop attracting a mass of people to watch this amazing process. With a wide variety of different flavours available there will certainly be something for everybody to sink their teeth into. The current ‘Fudge of the week’ contains a festive themed cranberry and vanilla mix to get shoppers into the Christmas spirit. Roly’s Fudge exemplifies the saying ‘proof in the pudding’ as they have now branched out across the country and have more than ten stores selling their family recipe fudge.
Harvest Moon pride themselves on their coffee expertise. The eccentric café can be found just opposite Chester Library on Northgate Street. The friendly baristas are extremely knowledgeable and are always willing to help. Food which is sold from the café is also sourced from the finest local farmers and bakeries to provide the best quality available for their customers. In terms of size, Harvest Moon isn’t as large as some of the other franchised coffee shops although this never seems like an issue. It’s the sort of café where you can sit for hours simply taking in the atmosphere and will never feel as though you are being rushed. The decor is minimalistic which is in-fitting with their no frills approach to coffee. There is a black wall which is covered in chalk scriptures from previous visitors – a nice touch allowing customers to interact with each other. Also inside Harvest Moon is a world map with pins showing the location of previous customers – encompassing the communal aura which the café has. During the evenings Harvest Moon hosts a variety of events, with their weekly open-mic event taking place on Tuesdays. Whether you are a coffee expert of an amateur Harvest Moon is a must see in Chester.
Corks Out is an independent wine and spirit specialist hidden away in a 700 year old cavern along Watergate Street. The secret alcove which hides Corks Out has been used as a wine dealership for over 250 years. The company took over from the previous wine specialist just five years ago and has now engrained their reputation across the country. Having recently been refurbished the shop now takes a modern twist on a Victorian age building. Corks Out has received over 20 different accolades since opening just a few years ago and even won the national award for “Best Wine Retailer of 2011”. When Corks Out first opened it focused solely on wine but since it achieved critical acclaim the business decided to branch out and now stocks other fine spirits. Staff are wine connoisseurs and are willing to help customers find the perfect drink for their needs. What makes Corks Out special is their ‘Tasting Room’. When the building was renovated they created this unique little alcove which invites customers to sample any of the stocked wines. The Tasting Room is also used as an events room for the company. The business often has tasting sessions so keep an eye out for any upcoming events of theirs.
Click here to read our review on Corks Out.
At the bottom of Northgate street you will find Listers Interiors, another family run business which excels in selling bespoke furniture. Hosting a wide variety of wooden beds, dressers and cupboards this boutique furniture shop is a firm favourite amongst the city residents. Listers has everything that you need to furnish your home just the way you want it. The majority of their furniture is hand crafted – built only to be aesthetically pleasing, but also durable. As Listers is a family business they know the importance of customer service and create a friendly dynamic with their customers. The business has been around for over 45 years, now branching out with stores in Chester, Shrewsbury and Llandudno. Listers Interior was originally in the Grosvenor Precinct but was forced to move because the business wasn’t part of the plans for the redevelopment of the area.
Just at the bottom of Bridge Street is Lily Vintage, an independent vintage clothes shop. With affordable prices and outstanding customer service this small boutique is a mainstay in Chester’s shopping scene. They pride themselves on sourcing the best clothing from across the surrounding area, with stock changing daily. If you are looking for a last minute Christmas present then you are in for a treat as they now have a selection of Christmas jumpers and gifts available for the holiday season. The business also takes part in Europe’s Largest Vintage Fair, a traveling event which is coming to Chester in February.
These are just a few of the independent businesses which reside in the famous city walls. Be sure to take a trip along the famous Roman city walls and find many other gems dotted around the city.