Why These Family Businesses Are Choosing Manchester

Family and business is the perfect mix when you set up in the right city…

While you can’t choose your family, you can most certainly choose your business partner. According to the Institute for Family Business, there are over 500,000 family run companies in the north west, with a rising number of married couples choosing to go into business together. In fact, family businesses makes up 40% of total employment in the region, suggesting that us northerners are big into bloodline business ventures.

Take Joseph Holt, for example. A Manchester family business which was set up in 1849, and is still going strong a century and a half later. CEO Richard Kershaw has now employed his daughter Jane, who is the sixth generation to join the team, and approximately 500 barrels of beer are made each day.

Similarly, Middleton firm JW Lees employs over 1000 people and has been a strong, family run enterprise since around 1820.

A slightly more recent endeavour is Atlas Bar on Deansgate. Elaine Wrigley has run the business alongside her husband and three grown children since 2012. Despite being a Londoner, Elaine says she’s all about her northern city and loves doing business here. “I know I’m not from here, but I can think of no better city to run a family business.” She said. “We all love it here, and we have a lot of confidence in Manchester, so much so that we’re considering opening another business here within the next few years.”

Elaine’s daughter was the general manager at Atlas before going travelling, and her sons work behind the bar. Elaine continued: “Running a bar seems like a romantic idea until you do it, there is a lot involved and it’s hard work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s great that it’s shared in the family. Manchester is a vibrant place and there’s nowhere else we’d want to be doing this.”

Alex and Anna Moss opened up a new bar (Basil & Lily) in Prestwich in 2017, having already set up a successful online marketing company in Manchester city centre. The married couple



claim that family businesses have both pros and cons, but that ultimately it’s a positive experience. Manchester, they say, is the city to invest in for startups.

Anna said: “Manchester has seen some incredible growth over the last decade due to factors such as the BBC moving up here and all of the regeneration. This has in turn helped to grow surrounding areas like Prestwich as more and more people are moving to the city centre and suburbs. Manchester is the perfect mix of old and new, we have amazing bars and restaurants opening all the time and with the growth of independents like those in Mackie Mayor it has spurred the growth on even further making Manchester a real destination city.”

Alex and Anna Moss, Co-owners of Basil & Lily in Prestwich

She added: “Running a family business is very rewarding when you can look at all of the things you have achieved and hopefully pass on to the next generation.”

Both Alex and Anna insist that hiring an efficient accountant to take care of financial matters is a secret to success in family firms. Alexander & Co in the city centre have been responsible for a number of local firms who set up in the area, including theirs.

Anna continued: “It sounds like a small thing, but having someone like Alexander & Co on side to help you take care of that side of things is a real help. For any startups or people setting up around the city, I’d highly recommend this.”

Sir Michael Bibby, Chairman of the Institute for Family Business, said: “If you walk down any high street, visit any business park or stand in any city centre in the UK family businesses will be all around you. Anyone who encounters a family business can feel their hard work, values, commitment to staff and central place in their community. Many have been around for several generations and what makes them special is often based on their culture and long-term outlook.”

Thinking of setting up a business in Manchester? Find out more about accountants for entrepreneurs now.


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