Chatwins has welcomed back customers to its flagship store in Nantwich after a major revamp heralding a new era for a family name synonymous with award-winning bread and cakes.
The Nantwich town square branch opened to a queue of early-bird customers after several months of refurbishment to modernise the premises and add to the town’s vibrant al fresco dining scene.
More than 100 were served in the first hour and managing director Edward Chatwin was thrilled at the response to the changes which includes a redesigned frontage opening onto the square for food orders.
He said: “We have rolled out a rebrand across our stores over the last five years but we saved our most important and most iconic shop, Nantwich town square, until the very last.
“Nantwich is our historic home and we have served bread and cakes to generations of local families and employed many of them too.
“We wanted to make sure the changes would be loved by local people. We were keen to ensure the design would be in keeping with the town centre and have been delighted with feed-back over the counter and on social media.”
Father-of-three Mr Chatwin is the latest member of his family to sit at the helm of the business founded in Nantwich in 1913.
It was his great grandfather John Chatwin who back then set up a small bakery in converted cottages near St Mary’s Church and delivered bread round Nantwich and rural areas by horse-drawn van.
His mission was to make the area’s tastiest bread and by 1916 he had opened his first shop and tea room next to the Market Street bakery and cakes were produced for the first time.
By the late 1940s a new shop had opened on Nantwich square and after a number of refits, the last in the mid-80s, things remained pretty much unchanged until January this year when work began on a major face-lift inside and out.
Changes include new cake counters and bread displays as well as a hot food carvery, outside seating and under-stated signage blending with the historic street scene.
Going down well on opening day were hot bacon baps and sandwiches made to order. Customers came from miles around to see the new-look shop unveiled at 8am.
Retired Wistaston resident Steven Jenks said: “I have been a Chatwins customer for years and love the new shop. It’s in keeping with the High Street and has a great range of breads.”
Nantwich shopper Kathryn Evans, who popped in for a croissant and coffee, said: “Nothing says Nantwich more than Chatwins. Buying something delicious from the shop and eating it on the square is a town tradition.”
Meanwhile Chatwins, which has 24 shops across Cheshire, Staffordshire and North Wales, plans to extend café facilities at its second Nantwich shop on Pepper Street.
All its tasty products, including a new range of croissants and sourdough breads, are still made at its Market Street bakery and delivered fresh to its shops daily.
Mr Chatwin added: “Generations of families have worked in our Nantwich bakery handing down skills as my father and grandfather did with me.
“After 108 years we like to think we are part of Nantwich’s heritage. I certainly feel very proud to be part of the business that is so well-known and highly regarded.
“Although we bake a great many products, it still gives us joy to hear a child ask their parents for a sausage roll or to be brought along for a cream cake as a treat.”
The firm has many awards for excellence under its belt including Best British Loaf and Best Pasty at the British Pie Awards.
It takes pride at being at the heart of many communities and a major employer of more than 240 people.
Nantwich remains the hub of its activities and the new-look shop, now open seven days a week, stocks all its hand-crafted favourites, including breads, cakes and pasties, fresh from the historic bakery a stone’s throw away.
Top sellers include cream doughnuts, sausage rolls, cheese and onion pasties and steak pies made with local produce as well lunchtime salad boxes and sandwich meal deals.
For more information go to Chatwins.