Alex Huckerby is a well-known name in the world of hospitality, entertainment and event management. Here he tells Jan Woolley about how his business has evolved
Young entrepreneur Alex Huckerby launched himself into the world of hospitality, promotions and events straight from university and has never looked back.
The owner, of Marvin’s bars in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lytham and soon-to-open Blackpool, Alex was educated at Arnold School, now AKA, on the Fylde coast, but admits he was never a true academic: “I didn’t enjoy certain lessons. The headmaster at the time was an unbelievable man – you could feel his presence before you saw him. He was six feet tall and wore a long gown and he understood that I wasn’t particularly academic – instead of attending certain lessons he got me to show parents around the school on a regular basis.”
After sixth form Alex attended Manchester Business School for four years and was subsequently offered an internship, which he turned down.
Having already teamed up with his good friend DJ Danny Howard, the world of events management, hospitality, nightclubs and bars beckoned and in 2009, the pair set up Randy Ron a promotions company that became renowned for throwing some of the biggest and most exclusive events.
“After we left university and went out into the real world, we asked ourselves why would we want to work for someone else?” recalls Alex.
“We started off doing Bank Holiday events at The Residence in Poulton on Sunday nights with Danny as DJ – they were really exclusive nights, really sought-after – we were flying.”
By 2010 they were applying their organisational, promotional and logistics skills to Randy Ron-branded events throughout the North West.
“Our philosophy was to bring a city atmosphere to every event wherever it was,” says Alex, who has made many contacts within the industry and has an instinctive talent when it comes to promoting and driving the right demographic to specific events.
“We organised Thursday night DJ events at a nightclub in Manchester which became really popular among the United and City footballers – it became like a Who’s Who of Manchester.”
Under the Randy Ron branding the pair began a summer season in Magaluf as Alex recalls: “Danny had just entered a DJ competition to get a slot with Radio 1 – he won it and it catapulted us to another level.”
In 2014 Alex and Danny went on to co-found Blackpool Rocks – a huge event first held at the Winter Gardens: “There was 7,000 people there. We had Pete Tong and Trevor Nelson it was the biggest event Blackpool had ever seen!”
Blackpool Rocks, an electronic techno music dance festival, continued to attract some of the biggest names in the industry including Fatboy Slim, Annie Mac and Craig David.
In 2017 Alex opened a nightclub in Poulton but adds: “It was a vanity project and we soon decided that going down that route was not for us – I didn’t want to be up until three our four in the morning,” explains Alex, who went on to create his first soul and Motown-themed Marvin’s bar in 2018 in Poulton with business partners Adrian Reed and Graham Barr.
By 2019 a second Marvin’s bar opened in Lytham over two floors – then the pandemic struck: “Everything went up into the air. I was totally lost to be honest. I couldn’t earn any money, we had decisions to make – we decided to sit tight and see what happened.
“We furloughed staff and I got a job installing boilers under the Government grant scheme – I can’t remember how many I installed!” adds Alex, whose wife Lauren launched a pizza-making kit businesses during lockdown: “No-one could go out so she created these kits for people to make their own. She is half Italian and used a family recipe and sold at least 1,000!” says Alex, who is due to open a third Marvin’s bar in August in Blackpool.
Today Alex is busier than ever with marketing, consulting and organising corporate events. He and Lytham Festival organisers Cuffe & Taylor were recently involved in organising the festival’s after-parties, showcasing artists that complemented the headline acts.
Being close to the festival site, the Lowther Pavilion was the perfect venue for the parties, which enabled festival-goers to continue their night with the likes of indie band Snow Patrol and the Soul Sensations.
“Eight hundred people over six nights – it was great to see the festival back,” says Alex, who is forging ahead with plans to open more Marvin’s bars: “I am aiming to have 10 of them. The bars are aimed at the 40 plus market, they all have identical interiors, they have a private karaoke room that can be booked by the hour, we have live DJs and it’s purely soul and Motown music – it’s a feelgood genre. It’s not showy, it’s not flash – it just a great atmosphere!”