A rowing inspired fashion brand is opening its first shop just a stone’s throw from the River Dee in Handbridge.
Square Blades’ store opened its doors on Friday (October 20) and is run by owners David Peake and Helen Rowland.
A launch party saw VIP guests like double world champion rower Matthew Tarrant attend.
Square Blades provides kit to more than 120 rowing clubs across the country – including the University of Oxford’s – and further afield, and also provides the staff uniform for Storyhouse.
The store, which was formerly a bookmakers, has been extensively refurbished and has been designed to look and feel like a clubroom.
David said: “Handbridge has a thriving independent business community and when we noticed that the building was available it felt like we’d found a home for the company. Being so close to the river and to the local clubs made a real connection for us.
“We’re proud of our Chester heritage. Every garment is named after a place nearby or along the River Dee. The Faulkner hoodie, the Aldford & Pulford T-shirts, and Frodsham sweatshirt all give hints to our locality.”
Both David and Helen row for Grosvenor Rowing Club, with David graduating from the club’s Learn to Row programme.
Helen – a finalist at Women’s Henley Regatta – is currently taking a sabbatical from rowing due to the impending birth of their first child together.
She said: “While the company has its heritage and roots in rowing, it isn’t just for rowers – the brand is for everyone.
“We like to think we’re positioned as being the Hollister of rowing.”