Case Study: English Marquee Company creates foundations for its future during pandemic

The English Marquee Company has quickly established itself as a classically stylish brand and fixture in the UK Event scene over the past four years.  

The family-owned and operated events company, based in Harrogate, was founded by brother and sister duo Sam and Tor Peters in 2017 as a division of parent company BHP Associates Ltd, which liaises with tour operators throughout the UK and Europe to promote Canadian holidays.

Managing Director Sam and Events Director Tor, along with their dedicated teams, cater for weddings, parties and corporate events, delivering specialist solutions tailored for each of their clients.  

Sustainability is an important part of their business and so the marquees and structures are multi-use products in a wide variety of sizes, making it possible to deliver exactly what their clients want. They’ve also carefully sourced tables, chairs, lighting and flooring to complement their hand-crafted traditional pole marquees and glass orangeries, which are a recent addition to their portfolio.  

Like so many others in the wedding and events industries, they were hit hard by the pandemic with lockdowns and tight restrictions severely limiting what events they were able to deliver for more than a year. They sought advice from Armstrong Watson on how best they could manage a problem over which they had no control and no idea how long it would last and quickly diversified to cater for a new audience.

Sam and Tor diversified into marquee consultancy for the many venues looking for semi-permanent structures on long-term hire in order to provide outdoor seating in line with Government restrictions. They also made the move into glass orangeries, alongside their popular pole marquees, and proudly supported a local primary school by lending a marquee to allow all year groups to return before the end of term last year.  

“Where they have been smart is that they have identified the fact that what they were doing was proving difficult with Covid and they’ve reacted. They’ve been very nimble to react quickly to what the market wanted not what they were selling,” said David Richmond, Accounting Partner.

“They looked at what the market was requiring  - pubs, restaurants and anyone who was in need of some form of outdoor covering – and catered for them.

“They had to react quite quickly because their target audience temporarily disappeared. They identified a different customer base that required the same product.”

Now that restrictions around social gatherings have eased, the English Marquee Company has returned to catering for weddings and specialist events with strong pent-up demand for their services alongside an on-going demand for semi-permanent structures.

“Armstrong Watson have been fantastic. Their focused advice, webinars and technical support helped us to emerge from the pandemic in a strong position to reembark on our business strategy. The last 18 months have both caused us to pause and then to accelerate some of our plans as we have diversified into a number of product lines alongside our traditional pole marquees. We have had a great reaction from our clients now that we are fully operational again and bookings are very strong for 2022.” Sam Peters, Managing Director, English Marquee Company. 

“Alongside our drive for perfection in the events business, our parent company BHP Associates Ltd has been delivering excellence in hospitality and leisure since it was founded in 1995 and is a long-standing client of Armstrong Watson. In addition to ongoing accountancy advice, Armstrong Watson has always been there for the directors on all matters including strategic advice and pension planning.  

“We feel very fortunate that we are first-generation entrepreneurs as well as part of a second-generation company with such a constant adviser.” Tor Peters, Events Director, English Marquee Company.