Announcement from American Trail Running Association member inov-8. Photos by John Shedwick Photography.
Customers eagerly waited outside The Forge ahead of its 9am opening in the popular Mill Yard. They watched on as Michael Price, inov-8 COO, and Matt Bland, Managing Director of Pete Bland Sports, cut the green ribbon.
Initially opening five days a week, from Thursdays to Mondays, The Forge sells inov-8 branded run, hike and fitness kit for men and women.
In the weeks and months to come it will also become the start location for several expertly mapped run and hike routes of the local trails and fells, while also hosting live speaker events and product taster sessions.
Forged in the Lake District fells, inov-8 design innovative, award-winning footwear, clothing and equipment for off-road runners, hikers and gym-goers, and have been based in the Mill Yard since 2011.
Its latest venture is being run in partnership with Pete Bland Sports, marking another significant relationship milestone between inov-8 and the iconic Kendal-based running retailer, who were the first-ever to stock the brand’s shoes back in 2003.
Michael Price, COO of inov-8, who pioneer the use of Graphene – the world’s strongest material – in much of their footwear, said: “We hope The Forge will become a real hub for adventure-loving locals and tourists who enjoy running, hiking and fitness. We’re expecting a bumper number of tourists to visit the Lake District this summer and we have a great location here in the Mill Yard surrounded fellow businesses popular with outdoor enthusiasts, such as More Bakery, Wheelbase, Wilf’s Café and Hawkshead Brewery.
“As well as it being somewhere to buy kit, we want it to be a place where people can come to share in their passion for the outdoors or to seek advice.”
Matt Bland, Managing Director of Pete Bland Sports, said: “We started out on a journey with inov-8 back in 2003 and have worked together on many ventures over the years. This is the biggest, but the joint teams of Pete Bland Sports and inov-8 feel we can build something special to sit alongside our store in Kendal.
“It’s a milestone for us and a positive step as the business rises once again after the latest lockdown and the events of the last year.”
PRO TIP: Are you looking for mountain, trail and fell races in the United Kingdom? Check out ATRA’s global event calendar.