We may be in the digital camera age, there is still a strong worldwide demand for traditional camera film, which Professional Film Direct satisfies from its base at Cariocca Ardwick. The company also provides equipment for sale or hire to professional photographers and studios, along with a wide range of consumables. As the accommodation needs of the business have changed over the years, Cariocca has always been able to help.
“My then-business partner and me started the company in 1999,” says Howard. “At the beginning we worked in his garage. We soon realised that we needed proper premises and we found them at Cariocca, moving into a small unit in 2000.” A year later Howard needed to move to something larger, and Cariocca made it easy by offering the company a unit twice the size with a ‘garage door’ front for easy loading and unloading. “Then, a year after that, we were able to expand into a larger unit while still retaining the garage-door unit we already had,” says Howard.
In 2009, with Howard now the sole director, Professional Film Direct bought another company in the same field, and took on a further unit to provide extra space. ‘As it turned out, we didn’t need the extra space after all,” says Howard. “Fortunately, disposing of the extra unit was very easy thanks to the Cariocca ‘walk-in-walk-out’ policy. It means that you don’t get stung if you make changes to your business plans as you go along.”
Today, thirteen years after arriving at Cariocca, Howard is definitely planning to stay. “The location is ideal for serving our big city-centre customers such as the universities, schools and the police,” he says, adding, “The people at Cariocca also have a great appreciation of tenants’ needs. There’s free parking and 24-hour security on site which is very important, because it allows us to work late or even through the night if we need to.”
Howard also rates Cariocca’s on-site support very highly. “The people in the office are very helpful,” he says. “If our customers come to return hire equipment when we’re closed, for example, the office will accept the items on our behalf. There’s a great hand-holding exercise between Cariocca and the businesses on the park.”
Summing up his experience with Cariocca over thirteen years, Howard says, “The place has helped us to establish and maintain our business – and expand it.”