As Salford beats off competition from Manchester and London to be crowned UK’s top city for business start-ups, Business Week reports on the business success coming from the unassuming market town of Eccles.
“With the shining lights and success story of Media City less than a mile away, in the wider market, Eccles is known for little more than it’s Eccles cakes” says Leasing Director for Orbit Developments, Dean Richards. “But scratch the surface and we know there is a lot more going on in this small market town.”
High quality, tech and creative businesses – including several award-winning companies – have chosen Eccles as the location for their office headquarters. But what are the reasons behind the decision?
The leader in its field, global marine engineering company SRO Solutions specialises in delivering leading asset management solutions for marine transportation, offshore oil & gas and manufacturing & production.
Originally founded in 2004 in Eccles by two marine engineers, Tony Lackey and Steve Driver, SRO Solutions spent six years in Manchester City Centre before moving back into Orbit Developments’ City Approach in Eccles.
Managing Director Tony Lackey cites a better work/life balance for its employees and connectivity to road networks as the main reasons for its relocation.
“Eccles is a fantastic location, we’re right on the M602 which gives us a direct route into Manchester city centre as well as connections to the M60 and M62 – and the biggest benefit is that we don’t have to sit in traffic jams getting into the city centre every morning.”
“My team get to enjoy a better work/life balance as a result and a few of them have even moved their families to homes in neighbouring Monton because they enjoy the amenities so much.”
Nicknamed ‘Monton Carlo’, Monton has become a success story in its own right. In the past 12 months alone, the village has welcomed a number of independent restaurants, wine and champagne bars and cafes which have changed the face of the high street and led to comparisons being made with Didsbury and Chorlton.
The Blind Pig, Playfoots and 6/Cut Pizza are just a few of the places you can visit for a professional business lunch whilst Vintage Ambience, Enoteca and Blacksticks are ideal for drinks after work or visiting with family and friends.
Whilst local amenities are crucial to employee satisfaction, ease of access is always cited as the number one priority for businesses looking to relocate.
The Fourth Utility identified Eccles as an ideal location following a period of business growth and relocated to the town in 2017.
The company was founded in 2014 at Orbit Developments’ Deanway Business Park in Wilmslow after developing a niche in the connectivity market by providing superfast broadband and cloud based services to smaller businesses.
The Fourth Utility’s USP was delivering unbeatable customer service to the small businesses that were struggling with the service offered from the likes of Virgin and BT.
Eccles boasts easy access to road networks which is crucial for The Fourth Utility’s customer visits, but the town also offers an unbeatable amount of public transport options from the Interchange including Metrolink services to Manchester Piccadilly, direct trains to Victoria and Piccadilly and bus services across Greater Manchester.
Independent gaming company Prospect Games are also based at the office development City Approach and was started by former student of Salford University Andrew Bennison in 2013 in his bedroom before moving to Eccles in 2015.
Andrew commented: “Being located in high quality office space in Eccles has really helped moved the business forward by providing the business with a professional and easily accessible studio – both of which are important aspects when pitching to international companies such as Nintendo.”
Dean Richards commented:
“Not only does the town provide a fantastic public transport network for getting people into Manchester, the services are run in parallel meaning commuters and visitors can easily get to Eccles from the city centre and beyond.”
“This level of connectivity is rarely seen elsewhere in the North-West outside of city centres and when combined with the competitive office rental figures, Eccles is clearly the most strategic and logical location for any business to be based – especially those that want to keep their overheads low during periods of business growth.”
National governing body for swimming in England, Swim England spotted the benefits in relocating to Eccles and in July 2017 the company moved its northern office from Manchester’s Aquatic Centre in the city centre to City Approach in Eccles citing the great location as the main reason for the relocation.
Divisional Office Manager for Swim England North West, Diane Stafford commented on the move:
“It was crucially important to us that our new office space would be easily accessible and close to the major link roads as the management team will be visiting regularly for board meetings.”
“2 City Approach is in an excellent location and not only meets our needs with easy access to motorways such as the M602 and M60, along with ample onsite parking, but also benefits from a transport hub on its doorstep offering Metrolink, train and bus services with routes across Greater Manchester.”
“The fact we can offer a number of transport options to clients and colleagues visiting the office is incredibly convenient and a real plus point.”
Dean concluded: “It’s easy to see why businesses are being attracted to Salford and Eccles with the range of flexible workspace options available and affordable rents, especially when compared with the likes of office space in neighbouring Media City and Manchester City Centre.”
“Combined with the vast range of transport links, we’re certain Eccles will continue to pull in the quality businesses and attract those start-ups who are looking for a cost-effective way to set up their first office.”