Women in Business Award

Tonight I am exhausted. It’s been a busy week.

On Thursday, I was delighted to win an award for Women in Business presented by Manchester’s Lord Mayor Cllr Alison Firth at Manchester Town Hall.

The award recognises women who succeed in businesses based on ethical or cooperative principles. It was one of several made that night to women of achievement in fields such as voluntary service, health promotion, race equality, and the advancement of women in political life.

It was a great great honour (not to mention a complete shock) to share a stage with these women, many of whom have made great strides in spite of disadvantage, discrimination, disability or personal suffering. To meet them and hear their stories was an inspiration.

On Friday morning my feet were firmly back on the ground, well, up a ladder actually, as we continued painting our new shop. Even ‘award winning’ business women have to do their share.

Although we’re still working hard to get the shop ship shape, we’ve been determined to keep up business as usual.

This is harder sometimes than others. Visitors are always welcome at the shop. Unfortunately, we still don’t have any signage so, even though we are on a major route into Manchester, we can be tricky to find.

Today our customers were gracious enough to turn a blind eye to the paint in my hair, scruffy t-shirt, and holes in my old decorating jeans when they called in to sample our wines and beers.

Thankfully, they were very patient even though not all our systems are fully up and running which means processing payments can be slow.

We expect to be up to speed by this time next week when we hope more customers will come and see our new premises, and I can show off my award!

For now, I’m going to finish my glass of Weinkonig Merlot, and call it a night.

Busy week at the new shop

This time last week we finally moved to our new premises. Customers to our shop over the last few months know we have been planning on moving for a long time, due to various problems with our old location (which I won’t go into here).

We’ve been looking for a suitable building for what seems like a lifetime. Every time we saw a For Sale or To Let sign we took a look. At the moment I think I probably know the details of most properties available in Greater Manchester!

We put in an offer on a building a few weeks ago, only to find it had just gone. In a fit of anger – at myself for not putting the offer in sooner – I went off for another drive around Manchester looking for properties. On the way back from Oldham, driving down Oldham Road, I spotted a To Let sign I’d not seen before.

The building looked perfect. The right size and a great location (Oldham Road is one of the busiest roads in Manchester) and owned by Oldham Council (so, hopefully, no problems with the landlords). I went back to work and looked it up. It had been on the market for some time and was a good price. We booked to see it that week and made an offer the same day.

Then we waited, and waited, and waited. It turns out someone had been booked in to view the property for a few weeks, so the landlords let them view it and then they gave them time to put an offer in. So we waited some more…

Eventually, last Thursday, we got the go ahead – it was ours! We signed a temporary agreement the following day (the lease will take a while to sort out) and collected the keys! To say we were relieved is an understatement.

The next 72 hours was like a military operation (well, our driver is ex-Army…). We started moving on the Friday and had it finished on the Sunday. A huge thanks to everyone who helped out. It was an amazing task and to get it done so quickly was fantastic.

This last week in the new shop has been like a different world compared with our old buidling. Just seeing daylight is wonderful! (Our last building was in the ground floor of an old Mill and the windows were all blocked up). The new building has a warehouse with natural lighting, and a shop area with large glass windows.

It’s been a challenge though. Our landlines aren’t installed until tomorrow, so we’ve been on mobiles all week, and we’ve been using 3G USB dongles for internet access. We’ve dealt with signwriters, printers, alarm installers, fire security installers, carpet fitters etc etc. Tomorrow we have blind installers, BT, a builder and another signwriter (hopefully more reliable than the last one).

The shop front area is still literally empty. We’ve hired some floor cleaning equipment and David, our “Saturday Lad” started cleaning it yesterday. He’s finished college now, so we’ve got him for a few weeks during the Summer. Hopefully he’ll get the floor looking perfect tomorrow in time for Andy, our regular builder, who is coming in to measure up for the new shop counter (which will incorporate the tasting area and sink) and also to knock a door through to one of the staff toilets to convert it into a customer toilet.

It’s been a hectic week, and this week is going to be just as hectic, but it will be worth it. We’ll post some photos soon!

In the meantime, although the shop is empty, we are still serving customers so if you want to come in you are welcome to, but please do bear in mind the shop isn’t ready yet.

The importance of backups

On Saturday morning we discovered our server had suffered a fatal crash overnight. The primary hard-drive had died.

Thankfully, we had a backup from Friday evening, so it only affected a few hours of orders. All customers whose orders were placed between the backup and the crash were notified and these orders were re-created in the system from the email confirmations.

No orders were lost and, despite our web site being down for most of Saturday whilst the server was rebuilt with a new hard-drive and the backups restored, there was no other problems and everything is now back and working fine.

We have moved to Failsworth!

We are delighted to announce we have moved to our new shop and warehouse in Failsworth.

Our new address is 23/24 Failsworth Industrial Estate, Greenhalgh Street, off Morton Street, Failsworth, Manchester, M35 0BN. For help finding us, please call us for free on 0800 224 8024.

We are open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. We are closed Sundays and Bank Holidays.

If you are coming from the centre of Manchester we are 3 miles up Oldham Road heading towards Oldham.

If you are coming from the motorway, we are 1.5 miles down Oldham Road towards the centre of Manchester off Junction 22 of the M60.

We have a free customer car park.

You are welcome to visit and sample our drinks without obligation.