An audio design business from Tameside have just moved into a new studio in a local historic building, calling Manchester ‘the best place in the world to do business’.
The Old Courthouse on Chapel Street in Dukinfield was a prison and then a magistrate’s court before closing in 2001 and becoming an office space.
Now, local company 344 Audio, led by Alex Gregson, has self-financed the conversion of part of the space into a state-of-the-art sound recording and mixing facility that celebrates Manchester’s industrial heritage.
344 Audio was set up by Alex nearly five years ago, during his studies at SSR Manchester, an industry-specific education provider which also boasts alumni like The Smiths, Stone Roses and New Order.
The firm regularly works with industry-leading figures across Britain’s entertainment industries and its reputation in the UK and overseas has been growing rapidly. Alex has also expanded the scope of his offering, as he now works on advertisements too, and so, he knew 344 Audio would need to accommodate the needs of an expanding commercial client base going forward, hence the move to the new, larger facility.
This move comes after a range of support from Neil McCluskey, a digital advisor at GC Business Growth Hub, including the formulation of short, medium and long-term business strategies, the creation of a social media marketing strategy and help with the development of a new specialist software product – PLUS+ - hosted on 344 Audio’s website, that helped Alex to initially scale up the business and set the company’s offer to client apart from the competition.
Following the support from the Hub, 344 Audio went on to increased success, working with the filmmaker and visual effects supervisor Chris Keller, whose credits include Avengers: Age of Ultron, Man of Steel and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on his film projects, and have completed work on two films – Strays and When Mum is Done – as part of Channel 4's Random Acts scheme.
Furthermore, Alex recently worked with the actress Maxine Peake to record the narration of the document Social Housing, Social Cleansing, which aired on Channel 5 over the Easter period, and mixed the sound for the up-and-coming British film-maker Jack Spring’s latest film, Destination Dewsbury, which was screened as part of last month’s Beverly Hills Film Festival. This work, along with the signing of further new clients and work on other projects, has led to a doubling of yearly revenue for the business and the need to move to the new studio.
Alex Gregson, founder and lead sound designer at 344 Audio, said: “In my opinion, Manchester is the best place in the world to start a business. The overheads are low, it’s easy to get to and travel around Greater Manchester, and organisations like the Hub and the Prince’s Trust have both been available to give me the support I needed to make a success of my business.
“That’s why, when I realised I needed to move to a new studio, I was adamant about staying in Manchester rather than relocating to London or elsewhere.
“Manchester’s got a great business history as well, so I’ve also made a point of decorating the studio to celebrate the industrial heritage of the area and let my clients know just how great this part of the world is.”
Neil McCluskey, digital adviser at GC Business Growth Hub, said: “At every stage, it has been a pleasure to work with Alex and it has felt very rewarding to see 344 Audio grow to the extent that they now need to move to larger, dedicated premises such as been their success and growing reputation as a company that goes the extra mile on all audio projects.
“Furthermore, Greater Manchester has been known globally as a centre of industry for a long time now, which Alex rightly celebrates with the décor of his studio. It’s heartening for me then to have played a part in the development of a company that it so good at what it does, it has attracted business from around the world to Manchester.”
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