North West business briefs: Bobo; Stratton Tea; Co-op Funeral Care; Stables Pies; Sambro Intl

Steven Burgess and Josh Moore

North West-based hospitality company, BoBo Group, is to open another venue in the region early next year, joining the growing line-up of restaurants at the new Chester Northgate development.

The 120 cover Iberian-themed bar and grill in the city’s new food and leisure destination will be the group’s third venue following the launch of BoBo West Kirby, Wirral in August.

BoBo will join the likes of Cosy Club, Zizzi, North Light and Bridge Street Coffee and Bakery with its latest 3,000 sq ft prominent corner plot premises next to the new Chester Market and Picturehouse Cinema. Josh Moore, BoBo Group’s managing director, said: “We’ve long had an ambition to bring our take on Portuguese and Spanish food to Chester. It’s a historic destination city where the old and new sit comfortably together and which fits closely with our own values.

“BoBo’s benchmarks all relate to standards of old-style service, customer experience and authenticity. Our dishes celebrate the rich heritage and culture of their origin countries and we feel our bar and grill will be a perfect fit for Chester where tradition meets innovation and will add to the city’s vibrant and varied food scene.”

BoBo Group’s original venue is a wine bar, tasca and charcuteria on Castle Street, Liverpool. In the four years since it opened, it has been named runner up in ‘Best Bar in the North’ by the prestigious Observer Food Monthly publication and shortlisted as ‘Best Bar in the Liverpool City Region’ at the Merseyside Independent Business awards.

BoBo celebrates authentic Algarve charcoal cooking techniques and drinks including traditional Piri-Piri recipes and homemade Sangria. The all-day menus consist of popular favourites such as spins on brunch, lazy lunches and sharing plates inspired by other traditional Portuguese and Spanish cuisine. Steven Burgess, BoBo Group director, added: “BoBo is not about formal restaurant dining, it’s a good time venue, informal and relaxed. Those who walk through our doors can make of it whatever they will. If they only want to have a glass of wine and a cheese board or maybe a pint and some Padron peppers, they can, at any time of day. Just as they can sit down and have a long lazy three course meal.”


Stratton Tea team and funders

Liverpool City Region-based Stratton Tea UK has secured £100,000 in funding from the River Capital managed Business Growth Loan Fund helping to support the company’s continued growth and expansion. The loan marks a second round of funding from River Capital following an initial £100,000 investment through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) in June 2023.

Founded in 2022 by industry veteran Razi Khan, Stratton Tea specialises in sourcing, blending and trading premium teas, coffees and spices. Since receiving River Capital’s initial NPIF investment last year, the company has experienced impressive growth, expanding its team from one person to four and achieving more than £700,000 in revenues in its first year. This growth experienced over the past 12 months has been supported by the introduction of Saif Servaia as a shareholder and he has brought extensive experience from a number of roles including Managing Director for White Cliff Tea, Tata Consumer Products Ltd’s largest contract packer in India.

The latest investment will support the company’s growth into the consumer retail market alongside its existing B2B trading operations providing vital working capital and support of marketing initiatives. The funds will also enable the company to fulfil new export contracts and customer orders as Stratton Tea expands into new global markets including China, Europe and the Middle East.

Sue Chambers, Investment Manager at River Capital, said: “Razi has built an outstanding business leveraging his 25 years of expertise in the tea industry and this funding will allow Stratton Tea to capitalise on its growth opportunities while creating new jobs in the Liverpool region.”

Managing director, Razi Khan, aid: “This new Business Growth Loan from River Capital provides us with the working capital needed to drive our ambitious growth plans. With strong sales pipelines and new markets opening up, we are well positioned to build on our successful first year. We appreciate River Capital’s continued partnership and confidence in our business.”


Co-op Funeralcare has launched its new range of all-electric vehicles, following a significant investment into the updated funeralcare fleet, as part of a wider climate action plan.

The roll-out, which is part of a £9m UK-wide investment, sees the addition of both the fully electric Mercedes E-Vito Ambulance and Nissan Leaf pool car to the Manchester-based member-owned organisation’s operational fleet, as well as the introduction of the fully electric Ford Mustang Mach e Etive limousine and hearse.

Gill Stewart, Managing Director at Co-op Funeralcare, said: “Funerals are changing, and we know how important it is to our member owners and clients that we explore more sustainable options and elements of the service for when they come to us to arrange their loved one’s funeral. Using electric vehicles is one of the ways we can help realise this, which is why we’re thrilled to be able to offer families more choice in how they celebrate the lives of their loved ones, as well as those planning their own funeral.

“This is also a significant investment for us, and a key step in our ambition to replace our full fleet of vehicles with fully electric alternatives by 2035, alongside our priority to be net zero across our entire business by 2040. We’re pleased to be expanding our fleet with the addition of our brand new all-electric vehicles, and we look forward to expanding the rollout across the UK.”

The launch of the new fleet follows last year’s announcement from the business of its plans to explore sustainable funeral choices by pioneering a new option in the UK known as Resomation, the first alternative to burial or cremation since 1902. As part of the planned initial trial, Co-op Funeralcare will look to further validate this new method as being a more environmentally friendly choice compared with gas cremation.




Lancashire’s Stables Pies is the latest Northern brand to become a Blackburn Rovers Associate Partner. In a deal brokered by North West sports rights specialist, Eleven Sports Media, the popular wholesale baker is set to raise its profile as it benefits from the Associate Partnership programme that provides a full range of marketing prospects across multiple fan engagement platforms.

Benefits include branding in and around Ewood Park, including the Pitch-Facing LED platform and across Eleven’s technology platforms, StadiumTV and StatTV. Whalley-based Stables Pies will also have the chance to expand its digital reach as its branding will feature on Eleven’s online StatZone content and on match-led social media posts, via platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

Co-owner of Stables Pies, Callum Robertson, believes his business is a perfect fit for the Blackburn Rovers Associate Partnership: “We’re in the business of making and selling pies, which are, of course, historically the leading food of choice for football fans. Our pork pies are particularly famous in the region and surrounding areas, having won a string of awards. They’ve cultivated quite a following and we are hoping that we can build on that with this new association and expand our own network of fans.”

He added: “This is a chance for us to engage with our regional customer base and to further raise our profile in the local community. The Associate Partnership is something I am personally proud to shout about as I am a huge Blackburn Rovers fan.”

Established in 1920, Stable Pies was purchased by the Robertson family three years ago and the owners are keen to run it as it was set up – as a family business. Currently on sale in butchers and delis, the baker is now keen to introduce its full range of pies to new markets, including supermarkets and leisure outlets.


Bury-based global toy manufacturer and distributor, Sambro International, has announced a three-year partnership with WildBrain CPLG, a trusted licensing partner for leading brands worldwide, to expand its extensive seasonal licensing programme for Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ beloved How the Grinch Stole Christmas! property.

Launching in time for ‘Grinchmas’ in AW24, the partnership will see the roll-out of a range of seasonal novelty and feature animated plush, across key UK and EU retailers including Liverpool-based B&M, Lidl, Liverpool-based Shop Direct and Ernstings to name just a few. Sambro has impressive expertise in plush toys which has recently seen it gain status as the number one manufacturer for licensed feature plush in the EU. Sambro also holds long standing relationships with many of the top licensors including Disney, Hasbro, Paramount, and Mattel, amongst others.

The new range of Grinch-themed seasonal plush toys will include an initial portfolio of 11 product lines, including a traditional character plush available in 20cm, 30cm and 50cm classic and Christmas outfit cuddly options. Designed to surprise and delight Grinch fans, the special feature mechanical plush line includes a ‘push and-pull sharing the present’ Grinch and Max plush, an ice-skating Grinch, as well as an animated Grinch walking plush with his Santa’s sack and sidekick Max.

Clare Rix, Brand and Licensing Director at Sambro, said: “Seasonal licensing opportunities continue to grow year on year and are an integral part of our growing licensing strategy, with this latest contract with Dr Seuss Entertainment providing a prime example. We love this brand, which has strong appeal for retailers and consumers, gaining popularity for its stand-out collaborations and partnerships which offer ‘must-have’ products that kids and kidults can’t wait to get their hands on.”

John Taylor, VP Northern Europe, WildBrain CPLG, said: “2023 was the biggest Christmas yet for Dr Seuss’s The Grinch with an incredible roster of partners and retailers across Europe supporting the festive push. We’re hugely excited to be partnering with Sambro on this iconic property to bring more stand-out Grinch products to the market in EMEA for an even ‘greener’ celebration this year.”