The success of Birchwood Park is underpinned by the innovative and ambitious businesses that are proud to call it their home. With our working environment made up of regional, national and international businesses alike, we wanted to showcase specific organisations to find out about their positive workplace experience at Birchwood Park.
In our next edition, we hear from Mark Gregory, CEO of Equity Release Supermarket.
Space for growth
Upon founding Equity Release Supermarket, Mark Gregory was in search of a small, but flexible office space that was capable to change in size and scale at the same time as the business did. In 2008 Mark moved into Thomson House, now known as 401 Faraday Street, here at Birchwood Park.
Three years later, the business relocated across the park at the Genesis Centre which at the time was a step up from its previous offices. With continuing growth of office staff and advisers, Equity Release Supermarket were lucky enough to moved next door which provided bigger premises, and remained there until 2021.
“It was really important to find space that not only met with the business’ current needs but would also support our growth when we scaled up,” Mark explains. “That’s exactly what I found at Birchwood Park. As we became more successful, the park’s onsite team were always assertive and supportive to find us more innovative, flexible and productive office spaces that aligned with our long-term ambitions. It really is the perfect set up.”
With Birchwood Park firmly established as a leading destination for businesses across the region, Mark also believes having offices here give Equity Release Supermarket “status” in the North West. Having a Cheshire postcode and using ‘Cheshire’ in our address does give kudos to the business when dealing with companies around the country, but particularly more southern corporates.
With that status, comes accessibility to a wide range of flexible office space was what brought Mark’s initial attention to Birchwood Park.
“The convenience of road and transport networks are essential for our business model,” Mark explains. “Working with such a big number of Business Development Managers and Lenders, often from all over the UK, requires the need for quick and easy access to our offices, not to mention plenty of car parking spaces.
Mark says that Birchwood Park’s location is “so valuable for us as a business, as it gives us the ability to operate as a centralised hub of sorts.”
As the North West’s largest out-of-town business destination, the community-led workplace environment is something Mark recognises as extremely beneficial for visitors, employees, and clients alike.
“The park’s dedication to create a positive culture, not just for us, but all companies is fantastic,” Mark says. “As well as providing the flexibility for businesses to grow, the park also has an environment that values the wellbeing of everyone working here. Whether it’s the gym, outdoor and chill out areas, nursery services or food and drink facilities, having all these options in one park meets with all preferences, professional and personal demands.”
Known for having a wide range of hospitality options onsite, Mark describes The Wood Shed in particular of having “high quality service”, and when its time to relax, his employees often venture out to during their lunch breaks to try its ever-changing menu of artisan street food.
Although many other business owners would have taken caution during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Equity Release Supermarket relocated its offices to where they are now situated at 304 Bridgewater Place in July 2021.
Despite the widespread disruption and uncertainty during that time, Mark says that moving at that time was “perfect” due to the facilities available at Birchwood Park.
Like most businesses, Equity Release Supermarket did work remotely when required due to the pandemic, however with employees being so eager to get back in the office a hybrid working model wasn’t necessary, Mark reveals.
“Our entire staff wanted to come back after working for so long at home, they really missed collaborating and being together,” Mark says. “So, we were back at Birchwood Park before the majority of companies. This was entirely the employee’s decision. The wanted to be in the office as soon as possible, which is a testament to the quality of the internal fitout we designed and implemented here.”
In addition to the core staff, Equity Release Supermarket also works with more than 50 independent equity release advisers located across the UK.
Mark says, “Our advisers come in once a month, which is where our office’s hot desking facilities are so useful. It is great to have functional space, which isn’t permanent but available on a need’s basis – suiting our business model perfectly. In fact, we’ve found that the lenders and BDM’s we work with are always happy to come to us, whereas we’ve often travelled to see them in the past.”
Birchwood Park maintenance
As a business destination, we pride ourselves on creating a community-driven and inclusive environment for all occupiers. Focusing on workplace wellbeing and upholding a positive culture is among the main attributes that brings businesses to the park, and makes it “just an overall great place to work,” according to Mark.
“I do like the way the park is maintained from a horticultural perspective,” he says. “It is clear that there has been a lot of time and money invested on the grounds, trees and outdoor areas in particular. The attention to detail is obvious throughout all the facilities we use. We are very happy here at Birchwood Park. In fact the internal design and layout of our new offices were aligned with the views of the trees and surroundings of the park.”
Please don’t hesitate to find out about the diverse range of office spaces available at Birchwood Park, we are always happy to help!