Putting the fun into funding

Johnson Reed
3m read

After a £1.9m fit-out project, one of the most talked about new openings in the indoor play sector took place in April. Play Factore, in Manchester, is the second centre opened by husband and wife team Fawad and Shaziya Munir. It boasts the world’s tallest indoor play frame, a 40m indoor zip wire and a Neapolitan Pizzeria complete with brick pizza oven.

Play Factore is the couple’s second venture that Johnson Reed have helped out with. It follows the success of Yellow Sub, launched in 2007 in Liverpool. At that time, as a new start-up they didn’t have a trading history or a credit rating in indoor play, but we came to their help:

“Johnson Reed was our first option for financing the play frame. Having dealt with Mark Johnson and knowing we could work together, I went back to him when we installed our Begeara Laser Tag equipment shortly afterwards. So much of this type of thing is about personalities and I liked Mark, his knowledge of the industry and his ability to work quickly,” said Fawad.

Efficient financing

Based in a space directly beneath the Chill Factore Ski Centre in Trafford, the venture was set up in an enormous room measuring 26,000 sq ft with a 19m high roof. It needed filling with soft play equipment, so Fawad approached Johnson Reed once more for our help:

“What I’ve found is it’s not just about rates, but the overall package an asset financier can offer. Johnson Reed is super-efficient and has the ability to finance several aspects of my business. And when I began the process of putting finance together for the play frame, catering equipment and furniture for Play Factore, I didn’t need to look elsewhere.”


We quickly reached a deal that suited both us and the client. Fawad explained,

“I needed around £250,000 of finance and they secured it well within my required timeframe, which was at least three months before I required the money. Because they know and understand the industry, Johnson Reed didn’t have to ask the same deep and searching questions that previous banks were quite rightly asking – it was more of a question of just doing the paper work.”

Controlling costs

Combined with the blood, sweat and tears, success can also only be built on solid financial foundations and, says Fawad,

“That allows management to get on and run the business. We know where we need to be with our sales forecast and business plan and we are comfortable that, as we reach those figures, we will be able to repay what we owe. This is a transition period, as we are still paying for some elements of the build and we have money going out for a number of direct and indirect costs. But that’s all part of the settling in period that I expect to last three months or so – then we’ll see exactly where we are.”

Fawad concludes, “We have always been careful to keep a tight rein on our finances at Yellow Sub. The same principles apply, but it’s a bit like starting all over again with Play Factore, which is two and a half times the size of Yellow Sub. It’s a much larger place and that brings with it logistical challenges and new processes that have to be put in place.”

Spreading their time between Liverpool and Manchester, one thing’s for sure – neither Fawad nor Shaziya intend to leave any stone unturned until the process is complete. Maybe then it’ll be time for us to help yet again.