Hashtags, Prosecco and Chalk Board Graffiti At The #GrowPynesParty
Grow Talk by Sofy Robertson
Photography by Nick Hook
January can be a tough month; the weather can be gloomy, battling with New Year’s resolutions can be tough and wallets are often as empty as when they were first purchased. It was entirely fortunate, then, that the final Friday of the month (and payday for many) was the Grow Office Party at Pynes Hill Business Centre.
The scene was set; our new Smeg fridge was choc-full of prosecco, Posh Nosh were busy assembling canapés in the kitchen, the Tow Bar trailer was gleaming under the street lights, full of tempting cocktails, Heavens Group were piling up the chips and shuffling decks of cards in the impromptu casino and Polly Nostimo’s retro Citroen van was emitting mouth-watering wafts of grilled souvlaki.
With over two hundred guests confirmed, it was due to be a busy night. Guests began to arrive, some super keen beans pulling in before the 6 o’clock kick off. The champions of arriving in style had to be Good Game’s Steve Williams who pulled in on his scooter with Marcus clinging to the back. They said there was another pillion; I think they were joking…
As more and more guests arrived, Jacob Blackburn set up his guitar upstairs and began to sing, drawing intrigued guests up the stairs to find out where the beautiful music was coming from. Others were drawn upstairs to take a chance on the casino, as well as to get to the source of the food production as delicious canapés began to appear.
The prosecco was going down a treat; guests were laughing in the corridors and enjoying ‘having a nose’ around our offices and Pynes Hill Business Centre as a whole. There were some fairly competitive games going on in the pool room and Nick Hook was flitting here, there and everywhere, capturing candid moments with his camera (and as you’ll see from the gallery, a few less candid ones from a collection of posers that will remain unnamed).
We may have had an official photographer, but that didn’t stop the selfies and phone snaps. Our upstairs ‘photo booth’ received a fair amount of traffic and Rob from APP Coaching had a snap against the Grow background, tweeting:
“Thanks to @GrowExeter for hosting this evening. I popped my networking cherry…”
Grow’s Editor-in-Chief, Joff, posed for selfies with Sarah Knight from Sarah West Recruitment who later tweeted:
“Thanks for having us @GrowExeter – what a fantastic way to finish the working week! You guys sure know how to throw a party!”
We certainly tried our best; our Content Editor, Stella, even took a gamble and tried the clotted cream gin with guests from the Family Law Company. Unfortunately, Nick wasn’t there to get a snap of their reactions.
At eight o’clock, the guests gathered upstairs for the speeches. Ben Cheriton, the owner of Pynes Hill Business Centre, began the proceedings with a round of thanks. He was followed by Grow’s CEO, Llew Nicholls who expressed how important it was to have a night of fun that was more about celebration than networking. Llew then introduced Victoria Graham, the well-known BBC Spotlight presenter that Stella interviewed for our December issue. Victoria admitted that she didn’t know the first thing about business but said:
“One thing I do know; to make a success of something you have to be surrounded by family. And by family, that doesn’t necessarily mean brothers and sisters and mums and dads, it’s people who support you, who can nurture you and love you.
“That to me is the business community that you are clearly supporting […] it’s a family.”
Victoria went on to describe how working in the media industry can be a “thankless task” but she described walking in to Grow’s offices and seeing Stella and Llew again as a “breath of fresh air” and even used our tagline of “relentlessly positive” to describe herself and her attitude towards life.
After the speeches, the raffle to raise money for YMCA Exeter was opened and immediately a queue formed with Victoria in pole position, hoping to win one of the fantastic prizes offered by local businesses including Chococo, Exeter Golf and Country Club, Red Panda, Hubbox, Exeter City Football Club, Rendezvous and many more. Grow will draw the winners LIVE at 4pm on our Grow Exeter Facebook page.
As the hour grew later, there was little sign of the party winding down as guests continued to enjoy drinks from the Tow Bar, including a special Burn’s Night cocktail that came with a mini shortbread. Polly Nostimo’s had a seemingly endless flow of custom, with our Operations and Distribution Manager’s husband Paul going back for seconds. He was not the only one; the offerings of grilled cheese souvlaki or chicken souvlaki went down brilliantly, as did the banter that accompanied every pitta.
As with all good things, the party inevitably had to come to an end. The chalk board in the boardroom was full of signatures, comments and, of course, the artwork that comes with any opportunity to graffiti combined with liquid courage.
As Grow’s Online Content Assistant, it was fantastic to catch up on all of the tweets and reactions on social media. Exeter PA Network tweeted their thanks saying:
“Thanks so much for a great evening. The offices are just fab!”
Glen King PR tweeted:
“Fab party and amazing funky & creative offices @pyneshillbusin1 – Grow you Rock!”
“I had the BEST time last night – thank you @GrowExeter you legends. It was a taste of how I imagine the fun days of media were before it became all sensible.”
One thing is for sure, our party could have been called many things but I am fairly certain “sensible” was not one of them! Some of the ‘artwork’ on the chalkboard certainly attested to this…
From all of us here at Grow, we would like to offer a huge thank you to all of the businesses that attended, to all of the business that donated to our raffle and all of those who provided fantastic food and entertainment on the night. As a business that endeavours to be relentlessly positive, we could not have asked for a better night to solidify the connections we have made, to grow new ones and to share an evening where fun was at the top of the agenda.
If you have any photos of the night, you can share them on social media using the hashtag #GrowPynesParty. We hope you enjoyed the night and that you’ll reminisce through viewing the photos in the gallery below, complete with many smiling (and silly) faces. There’s just something about having a camera pointed at you, it turns even the best of a little loopy…