Sandwich-maker extraordinaire opens his own outlet in MediaCity

Alex Markham

The man who has been supplying artisan sandwiches to some of the North West’s best known venues and eateries has opened his own standalone site in MediaCity, under his fast-growing lockdown start-up brand, ‘sndwch’.

Working behind the scenes making more than 30,000 sandwiches each month, sndwch founder, Alex Markham, has become supplier to premium coffee shops including 92 Degrees Coffee with its 11 branches and Manchester’s ManCoCo.

His client list continues with General Store group, Victoria Warehouse, Plentiful Wholefoods (Ramsbottom) and Village Greens (Prestwich), among others.

Alex’s wholesale operation runs out of his kitchen in Ancoats – Ancoats Food Factory – and also supplies food-to-go products to private hospitals, higher education and catering businesses.

Since its launch in September 2020, sndwch has grown phenomenally, turning over £125,000 in its first year, £500,000 in its second, and is now on track to reach £1m turnover this financial year.

Branching out on his own for the first time, Alex has opened a sandwich and coffee shop on the ground floor of Arrive’s Tomorrow building in MediaCity, marking a £20,000 investment. It joins his existing concession within MediaCity General Store.

Alex said his dedication to fresh local produce, delivered to the customer at affordable prices, is what sets sndwch apart: “We hand-make all our sandwiches freshly each day. I tell my team, ‘make the sandwich you would want to eat’. It’s labour intensive, but you can certainly taste the difference.

“We source all our produce from local suppliers we love. People respond really well to that and there’s a great sense of collaboration in Northern businesses coming together to support each other.”

Burnley-born entrepreneur Alex (45) had a career in film, TV and live events production before sandwiches became his bread and butter. When showbiz lost its sparkle, it was his love of food that led him in a new direction.

He started making soup from the kitchen table of his Manchester flat, taking online orders and delivering it around the city on his bike. This grew into his brand ‘SOOP’, which was later stocked in Selfridges and won several Great Taste awards from the Guild of Fine Food.

When the pandemic hit and the nation went into lockdown, this part of Alex’s story ground to a halt. As chance would have it, General Store group, one of Alex’s soup stockists, lost its sandwich supplier, and owner Mital Morar asked Alex to step in and supply sandwiches – and so, sndwch was born.

“It’s a good example of just saying yes and figuring it out later,” said Alex.

“I always return to a quote attributed to Winston Churchill – ‘success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’ – you have to be resilient and follow the opportunities that come your way.”

He added: “We have ambitious plans for growth and some new collaborations to reveal soon. Something big is coming next year to further stamp our arrival in Manchester.”