The last 12 months have obviously been challenging for businesses, with normal life coming to an immediate standstill, companies across virtually all sectors have felt the effects of this pandemic. And, while it may seem all doom and gloom, there have in fact been a few stories of Manchester-based businesses opening up and, to an extent, thriving, despite the restrictions.
So, in today’s blog, we’re going to be looking at these stories and highlighting a bunch of fantastic businesses that are based in Greater Manchester that have launched their products and services in the last year and, as we see the end of the pandemic on the horizon, are excited to grow and take advantage of normal life, and become part of the thriving business community here.
At MYP, we’re all about championing professional development, community, and amazing Manchester-based businesses so in this article you’re going to learn about Ramona, Square Fish Events, Parkway Legal Recruitment and GSquared. If you’re a business owner who wants to highlight their company to our fantastic community, or now someone who has just launched something exciting, then please get in touch with our team here at MYP today! Give us a call on 0161 327 1385, or email us at email@example.com.
Without further ado though, let’s learn about how these companies, and their dedicated founders and team members, have managed to create success during an unprecedented pandemic!
Ramona pizza is a new Detroit-style pizza joint that opened in 2021 and, judging by their Instagram, they look like they know what they are talking about. With mouthwatering dishes such as ‘Triple Peps’ which features Detroit sauce, ‘pepp pepp pepp’, hot honey, cheese, and pecorino, the ‘Vegan Jabba’ which is made up of Detroit sauce, mozz, Calabrian sausage (ve), chilli maple, jalapeno, sweet peppers, ricotta, and basil, as well as much, much more. Ramona already looks set to become a staple in the Manchester food & drink scene.
We chatted to Daniel Mullen, co-founder of Ramona, and all-round pizza extraordinaire, who also helped open other venues in Manchester such as the famous Albert Schloss. On opening, he said: “We’d been working on multiple concepts for the last 3/4 years and looking for appropriate sites for them. This one came up and we loved it! Perfect for Ramona Detroit pizzas and the Firehouse concepts!”
Confidence in the concept was high, highlighted by the fact that there was no hesitation to delay opening, even as lockdown rules tightened at the start of 2021. In response to us asking him: “You opened up in a global pandemic, did you think twice about opening/delaying?”
Daniel said: “Not at all. There is always opportunity during the downtimes and the timing was perfect for our build and launch.”
We ended by asking: “What is it about Manchester and the people of Manchester that makes you love it here so much?”
His answer was honest and very Manc! He said: “The weather! – 40mph winds and the rain is coming down horizontally as we talk!
“It’s the people, they know exactly what they want and what they don’t want, and are very open about telling you, which is great for business.
“We are proud of our city and there is always a constant push to improve.”
Ramona is open for collection from 4 pm-9 pm Thursday to Saturday and 1 pm – 8 pm on Sundays. They also run a coffee counter which is open between 12 pm and 4 pm on weekends only.
Square Fish Events
The second business we’re looking at is Square Fish Events which is a family-run events business that promises to “break the boundaries on what is unique with creative concepts, powerful content, immersive entertainment and exceptional delivery.”
This exciting concept was created by siblings Neil Lofthouse and Steph Cooper, with an aim of “supercharging the events industry”, both of whom have decades of experience in the industry between them. We were lucky enough to ask them a few questions about the launch and what people can expect from Square Fish!
We began by asking how they have adapted during this pandemic, as virtually all events have had to be cancelled or moved online. They said: “We adapted our offering to include a brand-new virtual and engagement concept called BoxSpoke.
“It was designed with the idea to upgrade regular Zoom meetings, level up virtual conferences or for businesses to send a special thank you to their team. Every box is bespoke and designed to fit each brand, culture and brief.”
They added: “From branded keepsakes, delicious gourmet treats, beverages, goodies and even live interactive experiences. We’ve already delivered +3000 boxes across the U.K and Europe.”
The family-run aspect of this business is fairly unique in this sector, it’s clear that there is a great deal of excitement, between Steph and Neil, about working together.
On this, Steph said: “This is a dream come true, to work alongside Neil and be doing something that we’re both passionate about.
“We wanted to create something unique, that places family and family values at the heart of everything we do. We want to work with integrity and pride, but also be bold and empower each other to take an idea and run with it.”
Neil added: “Square Fish Events is the culmination of countless conversations between myself and Steph, where we realised that creating an events business was something we absolutely had to do.
“We’re completely blown away by the reception so far and what we’ve managed to achieve, even during the lockdown.”
For more information about Square Fish, be sure to check out their website which has directions as to how to get in touch with the talented team over there!
Parkway Legal Recruitment
A well functioning legal sector is key to a healthy society, that much is obvious, but trying to find the right people to fit into your legal firm can be tricky. This is something that the Director of Parkway Legal Recruitment, Georgina Rylance, felt and it’s what inspired her to start the aforementioned specialist recruitment firm during the lockdown.
Parkway Legal Recruitment sets out to “demonstrate a commitment to helping you find the right lawyers to fit your firm’s values, culture and business needs.” Offering such a niche service may seem risky but Georgina had no qualms about opening during Covid, we asked her about this when we spoke recently.
On opening, she said: “Once I knew I had my family behind me, it was a moment in time that I wanted to seize.
“A healthy economy attracts more competition making it harder to have any significant impact as a new business.
“During a time when the world was adjusting, businesses re-evaluating and lawyers inevitably reflecting on their careers, it felt like the right time to set up a boutique legal recruitment business based on my network and longevity in the market.”
Despite the obvious limitations, there are, in fact, a great deal of advantages for recruiters in a virtual world, as Georgina explained: “The key advantage to the pandemic happening now is that we can network remotely and this has been invaluable as a new startup.
“Without the added travel time, there are more opportunities to attend well organised online networking events.
“These events have given me the opportunity to speak to a wider group of people at the same time, something I would not necessarily be able to do at a social event. When you speak everyone is listening!”
For law firms, and businesses such as Georgina’s, Manchester is the ideal city: “Manchester is an incredible city that doesn’t sit still. The legal landscape has changed significantly over the years.
“As an ambitious lawyer, it is a great place to work as there are ample career opportunities to suit everyone.
“We have seen many new law firms opening in Manchester and more and more of the top London firms entering the market as well as a number of law firm mergers.”
To learn more about the services offered by Parkway Legal Recruitment head over to their website or connect with Georgina on Linkedin to learn more about her career and she can help you, whether you’re a law firm or a potential candidate.
GSquared Health Clubs
With health & wellbeing a key topic on the agenda for us all more than ever before, getting the right space to improve your physical and mental health is key. We talked to Andy McGlynn, CEO of GSquared Health Clubs who was just about to open slap bang in the city centre, as the pandemic hit. They are set to open soon, but had to deal with a ‘virtual launch’, and the challenges that came along with that!
We asked Andy about the difficulties of delaying the opening: “What was and has been involved in delaying the opening has probably been one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do in my life.
“It still doesnt quite exceed my time in the Marines as a collective challenge, but it has been a different type of challenge. In 18 years of business I thought I was robust and aware enough of all perceived and possible challenges, but nothing could prepare for this.
“Playing for time, keeping the cashflow positive, meeting expectations of suppliers, liaising with over 15 different contractors, some of who sadly didnt make it through this, and all within the sense of ‘uncertainty’ with a project that has taken virtually everything from us as a team to get off the ground.
“In addition, helping those who were really struggling with the lockdown, keeping the staff busy and showing total reassurance around them. The whole experience has really tested our abilities and coping mechanisms.”
On how they responded to the new virtual world in a business that was just about to launch, Andy said: “Initially the virtual tours and webinars felt a little awkward and my own delivery style, which is quite different in person compared to a 2D experience of virtual presenting was hard to adapt to but thank god we did. It forced us to think beyond where we were currently at, and inspired us to make some upgrades and changes.”
Asked about what feature of GSquared he is most excited to bring to Manchester (because there’s quite a lot to be excited about!) Andy added: “Making every single visit to the gym ’special’. That is where every gym in the world (that I am aware of) has previously taken for granted.
“I want the sounds, the smells, the feel and whole visual experience layered on top of a 6-Star customer service and a totally inspirational, safe training space. It’s a synergy of all that we have worked on that comes together to create the ‘GSquared experience’ that I’m really looking forward to seeing from our highly valued members.”
Want Your Business To Be Featured? Get In Touch!
As we said at the top of the article, we love highlighting amazing businesses and initiatives across Manchester so if you have one, or know someone who does, then feel free to get in touch with us on Instagram, give us a call on 0161 327 1385, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.