1974 was the year that first brought us the Rubik Cube, the VW Golf, Ceefax on the BBC, a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in the UK and a public holiday on New Year’s Day.
It was also the year when husband and wife team Joe and Val Manby launched their own specialist business to service Harrogate’s growing events industry.
The business quickly expanded to offer these services to events held across the UK and – fast-forward 40 years – Joe Manby Limited is today one of the UK’s most respected independent event service providers, with a portfolio of 75 events nationwide, a worldwide customer base, and a full time staff of 34.
But the family-owned business had a much more modest beginning, starting out with just two clients, one of which, The Harrogate International Toy Fair, remains a loyal client of Joe Manby Limited four decades on.
Today the burgeoning business, run by brothers Richard and Andrew Manby, is located on the outskirts of Harrogate, on Hookstone Park, and operates across several purpose-built units measuring over 6,500 sq m.
It supplies everything from shell scheme, electrics and signage to furniture and floor coverings for events across the UK that range from bridal shows to high profile political conferences and medical seminars.
Richard, who joined the company straight from school aged 18, said: “The last 40 years have seen many changes for Joe Manby Limited and the events industry.
“Back in 1974, the Birmingham NEC was under construction, Manchester Central was still a disused railway station and Harrogate had yet to build its Conference Centre.
“Four decades ago our designers worked at drawing boards creating floorplans and designs which today are created using the latest software and are available on line.
“It has been an interesting time, and we can quite honestly say our success can be put down to good old-fashioned customer service – we pride ourselves on being highly professional and delivering a quality, reliable and personal service.”
Joe Manby Limited was shortlisted in the Exhibition News Awards as one of the UK’s ‘Best Supplier to Organisers’.