Hello and welcome to Best of the West, a new regular feature on the Ready blog.

Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area is home to many fine and exciting businesses. Every month we’ll give a shout out to three of them currently making the headlines for all the right reasons.

With a hugely vibrant region full of thriving talent, there promises to be no shortage of material. As such it was tricky to choose three to kick off with. But choose we did, and here they are…


Loungers was born in 2002 when three friends, all managers at local Bristol restaurants, joined forces to open Lounge, a licensed cafe in the Southville area of Bristol.

Fast forward 14 years and Alex Reilley, Jake Bishop and Dave Reid’s ingenious blend of relaxed atmosphere, fresh local food and quirky-chic decor has spawned 94 sites UK-wide under the company’s two brands, Lounge and Cosy Club.


Their success was rewarded last month when Lion Capital bought a majority stake in Loungers, in a transaction that valued the business at £137m.

With the 100th site due to open in 2017, and founders Alex and Jake still at the helm, the deal is sure to be a catalyst for further growth. We had a new business meeting at the original Lounge recently, and can vouch for the fact that it’s a top-notch experience.


The Trunki ride-on suitcase is a huge hit with kids and parents around the world. We see them every time we’re at Bristol Airport (and any other airport for that matter), but not many Bristolians know that its origins lie in their fair city.


Magmatic, the company behind Trunki, was formed in Bristol in 2006, and founder Rob Law recently revealed exciting plans to increase production after seeing sales double in the last year.

Good luck to Rob and co as they continue to build on their hard-earned success. Who knows, maybe an adult version is in the pipeline?!

Trunki races in the departure lounge – now there’s an idea.


TrueStart is a little different to the waves of artisan, hipster coffee brands that line the aisles of our supermarkets these days. It is the only coffee with levels of caffeine specifically designed to boost sports performance.

Bristol businesswoman Helena Hills founded the company with her husband Simon, and last month TrueStart was named Brand of the Future at the NatWest Everywoman Awards, which recognises significant achievements of women in business.


Big congratulations to Helena and her team, who also recently announced the exciting launch of a new energy bar product allowing fitness fans to get an intake of TrueStart on the go.

Their timing couldn’t be better, as our New Year’s resolutions all seem to revolve around burning off the Christmas pounds.

Tune in next month for three more success stories in our next instalment of Best of the West.