North West business briefs: Blank Street; Liverpool One; Foundation 92; OFR; Spice & Grind

Following the success of its first venture to the North West, international coffee store, Blank Street, has opened its second Manchester store.

The retailer, which has stores in Boston, New York and Washington DC in the US, and London and Manchester in the UK, opened the King Street operation yesterday (April 17), following its first Manchester opening in Piccadilly Gardens.

The US-based business opened its first outlet in Brookly, New York City, in August 2020. Its first year in the UK has seen TikTok-viral drinks – such as the Iced Blueberry Matcha – and the recent launch of its Spring Menu.

The menu also includes the humble Flat White, to a new Matcha Menu, including the sweet flavours of the new White Chocolate Matcha and Golden Matcha.

Ignacio Llado, UK Managing Director at Blank Street, said: “The launch of Blank Street’s first Manchester shop in December last year exceeded all our expectations – and with fans calling for us to open more across the city, we are delighted to be able to launch our second venture into Manchester today.

“The opening of our King Street shop means we’re able to bring our high quality products, great service and frictionless customer experience to more people. We look forward to welcoming even more Blank Street fans to meet for matcha, or enjoy their favourite coffee.”


Bagel Factory

Liverpool One retail centre owner, Grosvenor, has announced that three food and beverage concepts are coming to the location’s Chavasse Park and Wall Street, joining the destination’s extensive line up of hospitality operators. Making its Liverpool debut, Bagel Factory is bringing its bagel-based grab-and-go concept, joining two motorised food and drink pop-ups, The Bus Yard and Big Kahuna.

Bagel Factory is set to bring its fast-growing enterprise to the city for the first time this month, selecting a kiosk on Liverpool One’s Wall Street. Having recently become halal-friendly certified, Bagel Factory offers a wide range of bagel choices fit for any time of day, whether savoury, sweet, gluten free, or vegan.

Liverpool One is also welcoming the return of The Bus Yard to Chavasse Park, partnering with the unique pop-up for a third time. The Bus Yard will install its converted vintage Bedford Truck bar, transforming Chavasse Park from the end of March until August, serving food and drinks, including an extensive cocktail menu, to be enjoyed al fresco alongside deck chairs, cushions, and picnic blankets.

Additionally, Liverpool One will be hosting the Liverpool-based street food vendor, Big Kahuna, on Wall Street, bringing its Thai cuisine food truck to the vibrant food landscape that the site has on offer.

Rob Deacon, Asset Management Director at Liverpool One, said: “Liverpool One continues to be the destination of choice for brand’s launching debut sites in the city. The Bagel Factory’s commitment to Liverpool One, coupled with the third return of The Bus Yard and Big Kahuna’s pop-up, demonstrates the diverse range of F&B we have on offer. These exciting additions are set to further enliven Liverpool One, offering the community in the UK’s most sociable city the perfect opportunity to come together.”


Salford-based charity, Foundation 92, founded by Manchester United’s Class of 92, has partnered with Tandem Bank to deliver financial inclusion across Greater Manchester.

The new programme, developed using Tandem Bank’s expertise, will support young people transitioning through educational settings, and vulnerable families facing poverty. The initiative will seek to empower vulnerable communities to take a leading and proactive role in both understanding and managing their finances, through both bespoke and community-wide educational awareness.

Having launched its own Financial Education programme in January 2023, Tandem, the UK’s greener digital bank, has reached over 2,500 young learners based in 12 further education settings throughout the North West, and was the perfect choice to partner with Foundation 92 to plug the gap for financial literacy. Through the Foundation 92-delivered programme, both organisations will create a far reaching, impactful, and life changing partnership, that achieves important life lessons and outcomes for the people across Greater Manchester, in communities facing hardship, disadvantage, and inequality, often through no fault of their own. The initiative will target Primary and Secondary school pupils, while also supporting families in the community that face poverty and disadvantage.

Across a rolling six week period, a series of workshops within local hubs such as schools and other centres, topics will be delivered and will include topics on budgeting, accounting, saving, credit scores, and understanding debt. Head of Foundation 92, Tom Hutton, said: “Financial literacy and education is crucial if our young people are to understand the financial responsibilities they will face in adult life. Never has this been truer than during the current cost of living crisis.”

Alex Mollart, Chief Executive at Tandem Bank, said: “Sustainability stands for so much more than just carbon emissions and creating a lasting impact across society is at the core of it. Financial skills and literacy are at the heart of the modern economy and our daily lives and yet so many lack basic skills or understanding – I’m proud Tandem can bring our expertise to help plug the gap.”


Stockport interchange

Manchester-based fire engineering consultancy, OFR, has completed its project work for client, Transport for Greater Manchester, on the new Stockport Interchange and the adjacent 52m residential building which is home to 196 properties – set to complete this summer.

OFR began work on both elements of the £135m project in 2020 – from RIBA stage 3 – advising on both the design and construction stages. The Interchange is now open for commuters and boasts 18 bus stands with the capacity for 164 departures an hour, plus access to a new rooftop park via both lifts and stairs.

The company has also completed its fire engineering strategy on the 14-storey purposely designed building that sits next to the Interchange and includes 70 one-bed and 126 two-bed fully furnished, spacious apartments in the heart of the town. The development includes six commercial units and a private garden for residents and is set to complete this summer.

Alex Robinson, Associate at OFR Consultants, said: “This has been a fantastic project to work on over the past four years and the end result has made a huge difference to Stockport town centre.”

The OFR project was overseen by the Manchester head office team which included project manager Alex Robinson, project director Richard Rankin and project engineer Oliver Shaw.


Samantha Seddon

Eden, the £36m, 115,000 sq ft 12-storey sustainable office building in New Bailey, Salford developed by ECF, a public-private partnership between Homes England, Legal & General and Muse, has selected local coffee company, Spice & Grind, to operate the ground floor café which will serve both its occupiers and the public.

The café area forms part of Eden’s open-plan reception, which has been designed to match the feel created by the living wall responsible for its striking external appearance. Planting features throughout the ground floor of Eden and the café’s furniture was carefully chosen on the basis of sustainable credentials.

The founder and owner of Spice & Grind, Samantha Seddon, will be overseeing a menu of expertly made coffee along with an array of wholesome light bites including grazing boards (both breakfast and lunch), a variety of filled bagels, pastries, and sweet treats.

Phil Marsden, Managing Director North West for Muse, said: “The café at Eden is a key social amenity that helps enable the building to become more than ‘just an office’. By opening its own dedicated door to the public and inviting them into the café, the broader local community can connect with both Eden and its occupiers.”

Samantha Seddon said: “I am so excited. My business started out in a horsebox which, when I bought it to renovate, still had hay in it. To be moving from that, in New Bailey where Eden is situated, into a building I have watched grow before my eyes onto Salford’s skyline, is more than I could ever have dreamt of.”