California to Chester

American, Emily Ghazarian, explains why Cheshire’s county town won her heart two decades ago and why it offers the perfect day out for all ages

by Webmaster, 1st July 2021

American, Emily Ghazarian, explains how Cheshire’s county town won her heart two decades ago and why the high street offers the perfect day out for all ages

Life is full of decisions. Big ones, little ones, important ones and trivial ones. Nearly 20 years ago I made a decision that changed the course of my life. I hopped on a plane and flew across the pond to study in Chester. The plan was, spend six months experiencing a new place and then return to America and carry on as normal. Life did not go to plan. 

During my time in Chester I fell in love with an English man and city, making life complicated, but exciting. Quintessential cobbled streets, quirky lanes, boutique shops, and a social life I’d never before experienced. I was hooked. 

Long distance relationship, various visas, a wedding, and two children later, I find myself part of the fabric of Chester, living and working in the city centre. I chose Chester over California and here are a few reasons why. 

The high street in Chester exists in a harmonious balance. Familiar national brands, unique independent shops, gorgeous galleries and one of the fastest growing food scenes in the country. Michelin Star dining, intimate culinary creations, handmade Italian eateries, and humble street food. Whether celebrating a special occasion or catching up with a coffee, Chester is always my choice. You can walk from end to end in 20 minutes or spend the entire day exploring. I still discover new things in Chester simply by looking up! 

Businesses are people too. Chester’s high street has a personality and social consciousness. Whether joining up to make Chester the first Sustainable Palm Oil city or backing the Plastic Free Chester movement - the city is honest and compassionate while continuing to provide the essential retail, food and services that have attracted visitors for hundreds of years.

In a world where we are working from home more than ever, it is crucial that we still connect with each other in ‘real life.’ Chester’s high street is about shopping of course, but it’s also about experiencing the city, its people, food, spirit, salons, café culture and architecture. Remembering that we are all part of a shared human experience is so important to our mental and economic health. 

Following the outbreak of Covid-19 we have all had to get used to life not caring about our plans. Managing expectations to avoid disappointment is becoming second nature. Despite the challenges navigating this new world order, the businesses of Chester have mobilised and thrived to support both loyal and new customers keeping Chester and Cheshire together. 

Chester’s high street is not dying, it’s evolving. Think about a Cheshire without a Chester? Just as the city’s businesses exist in harmony, so does the city and county. Together we attract new businesses, residents and visitors to support the region and fuel our creative fires. 

Rodeo Drive, Third Street Promenade, the Hollywood Walk of Fame. No thanks. I’ll take Chester Rows, Storyhouse and the River Dee any day. 

Chester BID (Business Improvement District) Company infuses private sector funding into the high street to create a welcome, inviting, and exciting city centre to attract visitors and businesses and ensure a thriving high street. 

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