Back in 1934, our Grandad, Sidney Wild, formed “Savoy Cinema (Romiley) Ltd” and built a chain of Cinemas in the Manchester area.
In the late 1950’s, our 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.
Peter Wild then turned his energy and knowhow 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, we both graduated from Sheffield University and eventually joined Dad in the business, shortly before his death in 1991, at the very young age of 60.
Taking the lead from our inspirational Grandfather and father, during the 1990’s we also 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 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 – 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.
In 2005, we 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).
In 2008, we 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.
In 2009, we 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.
In 2019, we will celebrate our 25th birthday – it’s been quite a journey, but in summary:-
In Novemeber 2019, Steven Wild announced his intended retirement in April 2020, resulting in the ownership being in the hands of Andrew, and his wife Annie.
Here’s to the next 25 years!!
Andrew Wild (Managing Director) – with his wife’s permission!!