NW business briefs: Fluid Commerce; Merseyrail; NVFC; Backlot Cinema & Diner; Ansell Lighting; Alcedo Care

Rachel Blackburn, Liz Harrison, Adam Hindle, June Gil, Shelby Pickford

Fluid Commerce, an ecommerce agency based in Manchester, has undertaken a strategic expansion through the launch of Fluid Marketplaces, a dedicated Amazon agency, in Miami, Florida, in the US.

The initiative underscores Fluid Marketplaces’ commitment to leveraging their deep expertise in Amazon marketing services on an international scale, extending their successful UK-based model to a worldwide clientele.

Adam Hindle, managing director of Fluid Marketplaces, said: “The establishment of Fluid Marketplaces is a strategic response to the success of our Amazon service, which was launched under Fluid Commerce in 2019, from which demand has boomed over the years from both UK and international clients.

“Launching a separate agency, Fluid Marketplaces, will enable us to concentrate our efforts on Amazon marketing services and utilise our proven expertise to support business success globally.”

Operating from Manchester, and Miami, Fluid Marketplaces aims to streamline the process of business growth on Amazon, offering specialised services tailored to meet the needs of businesses in the USA looking to enter the UK and EU markets, and vice versa. This approach is designed to address the burgeoning demand for specialised Amazon marketing services and fulfil the ambitions of merchants to scale their operations through global ecommerce channels.

Hindle added: “Fluid Marketplaces represents a pivotal achievement in our mission to deliver unmatched marketplace solutions. With our bases in Manchester and Miami, we are uniquely positioned to facilitate market connectivity, providing a comprehensive pathway for businesses in both regions to succeed on Amazon.”


New 777 Class train

Merseyrail will run a special timetable for The Randox Grand National 2024 Festival, with a seven-and-a-half-minute frequency of service running between Liverpool city centre and Aintree station before the start and after the finish of the races on each day of the festival.

Trains on Merseyrail’s Northern line will run to a slightly amended timetable to provide the best possible service to those attending the iconic event, which takes place from Thursday 11 until Saturday, April 13. Customers should check the journey planner on Merseyrail’s website or app for up-to-date departure times before travelling.

On all three days, a seven-and-a-half-minute service will run between Aintree and Liverpool
Central/Moorfields stations at the following times: Liverpool city centre to Aintree, from approximately 11:00-13:00 (before the races); Aintree to Liverpool city centre, from approximately 16:30-20:30 (after the races). A 15-minute service will run at all other times.

On the Ormskirk line trains will run to a slightly amended 15-minute timetable. Stations between Liverpool city centre and Ormskirk will have a 15-minute service. However, to enable extra trains to operate, Aughton Park station and Town Green station will be served by a 30-minute service. Southport line trains will run to a slightly amended 15-minute timetable. Arrival and departure times will be different to the normal timetable. And on the Headbolt Lane line, services between 11:00 and 14:00 and between 17:00 and 21:00 will start and terminate at Sandhills. Customers for Moorfields or Liverpool Central, or those making the return journey to Rice Lane, Fazakerley, Kirkby, or Headbolt Lane will have to change at Sandhills during these times.

All services will run to the normal timetable on the Wirral line. Customers travelling to the festival from any Wirral line stations are advised to change at Moorfields for an Aintree-bound train. Anyone planning to travel between the 11-13 April is advised to plan their journey in advance using the journey planner on Merseyrail’s website or app to understand how the changes affect their journey.


Patrick Drury and Darrell Jones, NVFC, Hariz Grozdanic, FITOK

A growing North West business relocated its UK headquarters to a larger facility at Moss Industrial Estate in Leigh. Northern Valve and Fitting Company (NVFCL) was incorporated in 2011 and acquired by business partners, Patrick Drury and Darrell Jones, in 2018 who shared a vision to increase their UK market share and become a global competitor in the face of stiff competition from the USA.

With 16 staff, covering business development, engineering and technical sales, NVFCL supplies high quality components to the oil, gas, pharmaceutical, automotive and hydrogen industries. In 2018, NVFCL became the only authorised distributor in the UK and Ireland for global manufacturer, FITOK.

The NVFCL team celebrated the opening of the new 12,000 sq ft headquarters this month with special guests including Leigh MP, James Grundy, and Hariz Grozdanic, the European director for the FITOK Group. The business has experienced significant growth at Moss Industrial Estate, taking its first 1,000 sq ft unit on the estate back in 2018. In 2019, the business relocated to a larger 2,800 sq ft unit, which is still in operation today as its Pressure Test and Conference Centre. In 2020, a sales office opened in Aberdeen, followed by an additional 3,800 sq ft unit at Moss Industrial Estate in 2021, which will now be relocated into the new headquarters.

Director, Patrick Drury, said: “We are really excited to open our new headquarters at Moss Industrial Estate, who have fully supported us with our growth over the last six years. We take great pride in our high standards within the industry and in our technical accreditations, both of which led to us becoming the sole distributor for FITOK in the UK and Ireland. The technical sales support we offer our customers is second to none and is greatly valued by our customers.”

Neill Wood, managing director of GM Property Management, said: “It is a very exciting time for Patrick, and Darrell, and the team at Northern Valve and Fitting Company. They are one of our largest and long standing tenants at Moss Industrial Estate and we are very pleased to have been able to support them with their growth and wish them every success in their new headquarters.”


Backlot opening

The Backlot Cinema & Diner, located in Blackpool’s Houndshill Shopping Centre’s new extension, has opened, promising to re-define the cinematic experience and bring the best entertainment to the heart of the local community.

The multi-screen cinema and diner will go beyond showcasing the latest Hollywood releases by offering a diverse selection of films from arthouse titles, family favourites and timeless silver screen classics. The Backlot boasts Lancashire’s only IMAX screen and one of the largest in the North West, standing at a gigantic 10.85m tall and 19.87m wide. The location is equipped with IMAX with Laser, IMAX’s most immersive theatrical experience. Immersive by design, IMAX with Laser has been developed from the ground-up to deliver crystal clear, lifelike images and precision audio for a movie-going experience unlike no other.

Designed to be a vibrant arts and entertainment hub, The Backlot is equipped with cutting edge technology to host live gaming tournaments and corporate conferences. There will also be regular events, such as comedy nights, film festivals, diner and movie packages, and local community meet ups, which will ensure that it becomes a cultural focal point for both local residents and Blackpool tourists. The Backlot’s 100-seater diner will serve fresh burgers, hotdogs and sticky wings, along with a range of desserts, including American-style thick pancakes, indulgent sundaes and thick milkshakes.

Council leader, Cllr Lynn Williams, said: “Blackpool is fast becoming a destination for premium entertainment and events, providing local residents and visitors the opportunity to extend visiting time into the evening with a varied, family friendly offer. 2024 is set to be a landmark year for Blackpool, with a number of key projects reaching completion. The fantastic multi-cinema complex forms part of our wider regeneration plan.”

The Backlot’s founder and owner, John Sullivan, said: “As we unveil The Backlot, our vision is to create not just a cinema but a cultural haven for the Blackpool community. We believe in crafting an immersive experience that goes beyond the screen, inviting our customers to indulge in the magic of cinema with a completely bespoke programme and a delicious diner.”


Mark Abbott and Lord Lieutenant

The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Diane Hawkins, visited Warrington-based lighting manufacturer Ansell Lighting to present it with its King’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation.

Ansell, based on Stonecross Industrial Park in Warrington, was recognised for its patented Panel Pod product in the first King’s Award for Enterprise honours in 2023. The award was presented to Ansell’s Managing Director, Mark Abbott, at a ceremony at the company’s headquarters, which was also attended by the MP for Leigh, James Grundy, the Mayor of Wigan, Cllr Kevin Anderson, the Deputy Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Carol Benson, and local Warrington councillors, alongside key members of staff.

The Panel Pod was created in response to an identified industry need, and converts an LED panel light into an emergency light in less than 60 seconds, without needing a conversion kit or additional ceiling fixture to install. Emergency lighting is required by British law and workplace health and safety guidance, so if the lights go out in the case of fire or other incident it stays on for up to three hours. Since its launch in 2014 almost 500,000 Panel Pods have been sold worldwide.

Mark Abbott, Managing Director of Ansell Lighting, said: “Achieving this award, especially in the first year of the King’s Awards, was testament to the hard work and dedication of our innovation team and everyone involved in the business.

“Ansell is an ambitious and growing business, and the launch of Panel Pod was genuinely transformative for us, and it continues to contribute significantly to our ongoing success. It is fantastic to have been able to celebrate that success with our staff and the business community in the North West.”


Laura Harrison

Alcedo Care Group has opened a new office in Ormskirk, Lancashire. Located in Glenbourne House on Burscough Street, it represents a £225,000 investment for the independently-owned and operated large regional home care provider and brings the group’s total number of offices across the North of England and Wales to 22.

Managed by experienced Alcedo home care professional, Laura Harrison, the new branch and its dedicated team of 33 carers will deliver a portfolio of high quality home care services including personal care, nursing, nurse-led complex care and support and companionship to those looking to remain independent in their own homes across Ormskirk and the surrounding areas.

Managing director of Alcedo Care Group, Andy Boardman, said: “We look forward to providing our highly rated home care services across the local area. With so many more people choosing to stay in their own homes, rather than move into residential care, there is a large increase in demand for quality home care in Ormskirk and our new branch will be able to help.”

Under the guidance of Laura, the Ormskirk office has plans to grow and will recruit more than 50 new carers to the team over the next 12 months, gradually increasing the number of weekly care hours delivered across the town.

Laura said: “I’m excited to get started, to build the new team and develop our community of home care clients across Ormskirk. Family values are at the heart of what we do, and we are committed to delivering the highest quality care with a personal touch that truly enriches the lives of all of our clients.”