Manchester local and owner of Salut Wines, Sara Saunby, is starring in a new campaign to celebrate how she transformed her business when it was forced to close during lockdown.
The wine bar and shop based in Cooper Street, Manchester, relied on trade from office workers in Manchester’s business district. When the pandemic first imposed restrictions in March 2020, footfall in the City Centre virtually disappeared overnight and the business was forced to close.
Salut Wines opened in August 2014 and up until the pandemic, had no online presence, having focused on the in-store customer experience.
Owner Sara turned to Virgin Media for help and they provided a dedicated Voom business broadband service, offering speeds of up to 350Mbps. These ultrafast and reliable services have helped thousands of small business owners like Sara to thrive during lockdown with lightning-fast connections that enable them to keep in touch with their customers.
Like many businesses, Salut Wines was forced to adapt quickly so Sara and her team started by setting up an online shop. But what they really wanted to do was bring the wine bar experience online, so they started offering virtual wine tastings.
The online events have proved extremely popular with up to 40 people joining sessions hosted from Salut’s Manchester premises. This has exposed Salut Wines to new audiences – friends, families and corporate customers – who are now coming together remotely from across the UK for the first time, to enjoy cheese and wine tastings.
Sara and her team plan to continue running virtual tastings after reopening, having realised the potential of technology to expand their customer base and bring together nationwide teams for immersive wine tasting events.
Sara Saunby, owner of Salut Wines, commented, “When 2020 happened, we had to rethink the business model because we weren’t able to conduct business here at Salut. The internet package that we have is vital to our business: as result of everything that we’ve been doing online, more people know about us, so we’ve grown quite organically, and now we can bring people from all over the country together for our tastings.”
Gregg Pearce, Director of SOHO at Virgin Media, said, “Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and we’re enormously proud to have helped thousands of business owners like Sara survive and thrive during the pandemic. As lockdown restrictions lift, we’re committed to helping our customers bounce back with disruption-free connectivity they can depend on.”
Salut Wines has now been featured in a video as part of a major new campaign from Virgin Media which celebrates how small businesses are using digital to transform and growing into new areas.