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Home » Founder Of Stack Leisure Company Eyes Overseas Opportunities

Founder Of Stack Leisure Company Eyes Overseas Opportunities

The founder of North East leisure company Stack says the brand could be taken overseas following significant backing from London investors.

Neill Winch, CEO of property, care and leisure company Danieli Group first created Stack in 2017 when plans for the original drinking, dining, shopping and leisure hub – pieced together with 60 shipping containers – were first unveiled for the former Odeon Cinema plot in Newcastle city centre. While the inaugural Stack may have been dismantled to make way for the city’s largest ever office scheme, having entertained more than three million people during its four-year stay, the brand has caught the imagination of town and city leisure planners across the UK.

That has led to the creation of a site in Seaburn and many more under construction and in planning stages, including in Middlesbrough, Lincoln, Bishop Auckland, Durham and Whitley Bay. Last week the business announced it had secured investment from London private equity group Kings Park Capital in moves which will ramp up Stack’s roll-out across the UK – and, potentially, further afield.

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Each Stack has a unique look, with some set to be created from shipping containers like the original in cities including in Carlisle, Manchester and Sheffield, and others breathing new life into empty retail spaces, such as the Lincoln site which has moved into a former Argos unit. With drinking and dining destinations already taking shape in key cities – including Newcastle where the wrapping around Worswick Chambers, site of the new permanent city base for Stack, has just been removed – Mr Winch says Stack’s compelling and resilient proposition gives the brand bags of potential.

The company has also formed a joint venture with Newcastle United – the St James’ Stack – which will see the creation of a Fan Zone next to the stadium, and Mr Winch says that plan could be replicated with other football clubs.

He told trade publication Propel: “The UK’s just bursting with potential for what we do. We’re aiming for 15 new sites in the next few years, but honestly, there’s room for many more. Each Stack is a reflection of its neighbourhood, so the possibilities are endless.

Danieli Group CEO Neill Winch and STACK’s site in Sunderland (Image: STACK Danieli Group) “As for fan zones, after the buzz we’ve created with Newcastle United, we’re definitely eyeing more partnerships like that. Our secret sauce has got to be how we weave ourselves into the fabric of the local community. It’s not just about having a space, it’s about creating a place where everyone feels welcome, any time of day.

“From the early mornings welcoming dog walkers for coffee to families out for lunch through to the night owls who want that festival buzz, we’ve got it all. What really makes Stack stand out is the sheer amount and variety of live entertainment we bring to the table, and we’ve got a ton of kid-friendly events to keep the little ones jumping with joy. “Plus, our locally inspired street food complements the entertainment and keeps our venues at the cutting edge of what’s hot.”

He added: “Right now, we’re laser-focused on growing at home, making sure every new Stack is a hit. But looking overseas? It’s on the cards. We think the Stack experience can go global, and we’re excited to see where that journey takes us.”

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