The story of our business

From cinemas and bingo to wholesaler

Cinema & Bingo

Back in 1934, Andrew's Grandad, Sidney Wild, formed “Savoy Cinema (Romiley) Ltd” and built a chain of Cinemas in the Manchester area.

In the late 1950’s, Andrew's dad, Peter, joined the business, and in 1960, was a major influence in the “Bingo” revolution in the North West, by converting one of the cinemas into a Bingo Club (The Queens – pictured below). Bingo was an instant success, and over the next 5 years, the remaining 6 cinemas were converted and the “Wild Bingo Circuit” was formed.

Sidney Wild died in 1972, and at about the same time, the National Bingo operators jumped on the bandwagon, building large, purpose-built venues. These were certainly “smarter” places, but they lacked the charm and character of the earlier cinema conversions. However, like the modern-day supermarkets, they had a detrimental effect on small independent operators, and the bingo business suffered.

Restaurants Expansion

Peter Wild then turned his energy and know-how into Restaurants, converting two derelict school buildings into beautiful “Steak Houses” and out of this, the School House Restaurants were born. The two restaurants, in Middleton and Ashton-under-Lyne, were very successful during the 80s and 90s.

In the 80s, my brother, Steven, and I both graduated from Sheffield University and, shortly before his death in 1991, we joined Dad in the business. Steven concentrated on the Bing Club and I ran the Restaurants.

In 1988, Andrew married Annie, and we would later become the sole owners of the business. Steven retired in 2020, but for 30 years or so we ran the business together.

A New Generation

As the bingo business continued to decline, we took the lead from our inspirational Grandfather and father, and during the 1990’s we ventured into new businesses. In 1992 we opened the first town centre, indoor children’s play area, in our bingo club in Bury. It was called “Running Wild” for obvious reasons and included the longest indoor slide in the UK at the time.

It was during 1994, with our business comprising 5 Bingo clubs, a play centre and two restaurants, that we took our first tentative steps into wholesaling. Based in a portacabin in the car park of our first Bingo club in Hollinwood, Oldham, we started delivering beers, wines and spirits to local pubs and restaurants.

A few year later, when things seemed to be going well, we took on a 2000 sq ft unit about 2 miles up the road from the Bingo Club – Falmouth Works. Two years later, we rented a unit next door and opened it as a Cash & Carry. At the same time, we joined the Today’s Group – at the time, Europe’s largest buying group for Independent Wholesalers. Four years later, we took on another 2000sq ft.

Joining Today’s allowed us to network with other wholesalers and suppliers, which in turn encouraged us to “up our game” and become more and more professional in our approach. Typical of this was our decision to go for, and be awarded our ISO status, an accreditation that we have kept ever since.

Throughout the 90's and 00's, Annie worked in various parts of our business, juggling work and looking after our 3 daughters.

Ongoing Growth

  1. 2005

    Took on the final unit in the row, making a total of 11000 sq ft, and shortly afterwards we joined our second buying group – the on-trade specialists, National Drink Distributors (NDD). It was around this time that Annie joined full-time and started to influence the running of the wholesale business.
  2. 2008

    Joined our third buying group – The Society of Vintners – which enabled us to offer on-trade wine brands that were exclusive to Wilds in the Manchester area.
  3. 2009

    Moved to our current premises on Arkwright Street, Oldham, where we now have 22000 sq ft of storage space, along with a large open-plan office and meeting room
  4. 2013

    Andrew & Annie's daughter, Rachel, joined the business full-time
  5. 2019

    Celebrated our 25th birthday –
    In Novemeber 2019, Steven Wild announced his intended retirement in April 2020, resulting in the ownership transferring into the hands of Andrew and Annie Wild.

    It’s been quite a journey, in summary:-

    • We have 35 members of staff
    • 11 delivery vehicles, delivering beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks.
    • We deliver to hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs within 50 miles of our office.

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