An increasingly popular informal networking event in the heart of Preston’s historic Winckley Square has been hailed ‘the best business network event’ around by a city centre restaurant owner.
More than 100 businessmen and women came to the historic gardens last night to ‘hang out’, enjoy some complimentary food and drink and make some valuable new contacts.
Preston Business Improvement District’s established Winckley Square Hangout has been bringing the city centre’s business community together for three years, with the event’s ‘hangout lines’ – giving businesses a place to pin up their promotional materials – and relaxed, informal atmosphere proving a hugely popular concept.
The Hangout attracts people from various businesses throughout the city centre and beyond who come together and make new contacts while enjoying the glorious surroundings of the Georgian Winckley Square.
This latest event was sponsored by Cross Street Peruvian tapas restaurant Duk Pond, who provided food and drinks throughout the evening.
Andrea Mellon, owner and chef patron at Duk Pond, who won Customer Service Champion at BID’s recent Preston – It Smiles Better awards, said: “The Hangout is definitely the best business network event in Preston and the wider area and it is just so well run and so well organised and all the businesses that get involved really benefit from it.
“This Hangout was fabulous. We got some fantastic reviews for the food and the guys really enjoyed themselves. It was a cracking day.”
Singer Daniella Gallagher provided entertainment for the afternoon. She said: “I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was really nice.
“People were having a look around and looking at everyone’s promotional materials and finding who they want to speak to, seeking out those people and having those conversations.
“It is a really unusual way of striking up conversations and business relationships. I have not seen it anywhere else.
“I loved performing. It was so laid back and everyone was enjoying a drink and enjoying the conversations and I was adding to the entertainment, so for me it was quite a nice experience.”
Holly Wignall, from entertainment and events agency Events Live, said: “I have attended the Winckley Square Hangout a few times and I think it is great, especially when the weather is nice.
“There is a nice relaxed atmosphere and there are a lot of local businesses so it is just an easy one to come to and there is no pressure.
“I think businesses prefer to come to events like this rather than the traditional networking events than being in a restricted formal networking where you feel under pressure to say something so it is a lot nicer here.”
Jon Nutten, from Cotton Court Business Centre, said: “It is a great way for the business community to get together, have conversations and catch up with people you have not seen for a while, interact with new people and hopefully bring their business towards you.
“For us, the Hangout helps us broaden our horizons and tell people what we do so it is great to just push that message out there and reaffirm our position in Preston.”