Giant Sneakers Everywhere
When Carley Bannaghan sits to have her original interview for this article in November, she has an Old English Miniature Bulldog named Kay having a nap on her lap. “I always try and achieve something every day anyway, even if it’s just making Kay happy.” Doggy day-care aside, she’s certainly accomplished a great deal since becoming Sales Manager for Church Street Aparthotel, based in the Northern Quarter, seeing it through its transformation from the Light to the Supercity signature it is today.
From the get-go, “it was all hands on the deck.” In her own words, The Light “couldn’t have been further from Supercity if they tried.” Specialising in short stay accommodations that catered to birthday or engagement trips, The Light had completely different clientele, length of stay, staffing—“everything.” When it came to revamping The Light to turn it into Supercity, then, it meant starting from scratch.
But Carley was used to the long hours and need to improvise while working as an event planner. The job required her to travel around the world, “doing 15 to 17 hour days,” working on projects as far-flung as a New Balance conference in Tenerife (“there were giant sneakers everywhere”), to working in Beijing with the company that helped manage a lot of the events around their Olympics.
If all this sounds exotic—“it wasn’t.” Instead, she remembers it being more about “getting up at the crack of dawn, work for 2000 people, do something for the night, go somewhere only to go other places.” It was hard, exhausting work that left her with almost no time for her family. “I fell asleep in the shower once and I was like right, this is the end of this.”
That Manchester Feeling
In joining hotel sales, she found there was enough overlap for the aspects she loved without the horrendous hours. She enjoys the strategy that comes with it, the satisfaction of landing a great client, and most of all the chance to meet people from so many different backgrounds, where “you could be speaking to a producer that’s looking after peaky blinders one day, and the next day you’re speaking to an analyst from India coming in.”
From that came her move to a sleek aparthotel company, and then came Supercity last year—she hasn’t really stopped moving since. “It has been a journey, I mean I’m coming up to a year and it feels as though I’ve been here for about 30, 35 years. So much has happened.”
Not only will the 68-suite complex have the most units of any Supercity hotel, it’s also the first aparthotel outside of London, a first she’s proud to have played a role in shaping. “Church Street is Mancunian, the artwork is Mancunian, the staff are Mancunian, the people we’re employing are local with a local knowledge.” Based in the Northern Quarter, the aparthotel reflects that sense of a rapidly changing neighbourhood that never lost its artistic sensibilities for what’s cool in and around the area.
And as a proud Mancunian herself, she’s up for that challenge. “Home is home,” is her motto, and she’s never stopped loving the city where “it’s big, it’s small, it’s old it’s young,” and there’s always something new and exciting to tackle and experience.
No Belly Dancers
A lot of things have changed since that original interview in November—staff have switched over, Kay has since been adopted by her mother and now goes by the name Tilly and, most of all, Church Street is now fully operational.
She’s been loving the new pace and the different aspects to her role now, from motivating the Front of House team to meeting and greeting guests. “The team have really thrived on it.” Church Street’s considered “the edgy and cool one on the market and in the Northern Quarter,” something she loves.
With a staggered opening, there will be no grand entrance on the scene. But this was never really the plan—for her, “we’ll just be like that new cool kid in the Northern Quarter, we don’t have to go out with belly dancers and trumpets, bands and throw a big party to get it on the market.” That sense of relaxed cool is exactly what the Northern Quarter is about.
Beyond the excitement surrounding the opening, she’s content—“I wanted to be a sales manager of a city property by the time I was thirty, I did that, and ever since then I’ve just enjoyed life and having that confidence.” It makes Church Street the perfect place to see that through. She lives on a farm near the city with her husband and Shar-Pei Dudley, who she calls “the love of my life, and my husband knows this.” The rest will come as it will.
“I would like an alpaca, but I read this morning that they only operate in herds, and then I realized, oh my God I would have to buy a herd of them, that dream’s out of the window – so if I won the lottery I might buy a heard of alpacas.”
Kay gives a small groan of approval.
Meet more of the family