Market Weighton’s residents might be surprised to learn that an award-winning software and advertising agency resides on its High Street. Inside the former Wesleyan Chapel named ‘Simplytrak House’ you will find SAAS Global the company behind Forward & Thinking, Simplytrak, and Wold Outdoor.
SAAS Global (Software And Advertising Services) is the holding company for Simplytrak - vehicle tracking and telematics specialists, Forward & Thinking – a dedicated advertising, media buying and commercial production company and Wold Outdoor the Group’s digital media tower builder and property development arm.
The chapel has been home to the sister companies for 8 years since local Founder Directors Andrew and Alison Johnson (a husband-and-wife team) purchased the building. Having acquired the chapel after it lay dormant for over 5 years, the couple gutted the interior, taking over a year to convert the space to make it a modern and enlightening place to work. The Johnson’s have continually invested in the property seeing the space as the Group’s epicentre and an ever-evolving part of the SAAS family.
The fully refreshed HQ is now virtually unrecognisable inside, having undergone additional renovations in 2021 almost 8 years after moving in to further upgrade the interior. Spending circa £20K on quality refurbishments, decorating and interior furnishings the chapel has now re-opened and recently welcomed back the business’s growing teams.
Staff from Forward & Thinking and Simplytrak returned to the chapel on Tuesday 3rd August after eighteen months working remotely. Re-entering the office was made extra special for team members new and old, with the refurbishment celebrations seeing staff come together to enjoy a champagne buffet.
Talking about what drove the refurbishment plans, working through the pandemic and returning to the office for the first time SAAS Global Founder/Director, Andrew Johnson said: “For over 2 years, before the Covid-19 pandemic Alison and I had searched for new, bigger offices to manage the expansion for both Forward & Thinking and Simplytrak. Our search was in vain, and we couldn’t find anything for sale or lease to the standard we already had at the chapel. We were on the point of buying the premises next door to renovate and expand into when Covid struck.”
Reflecting back on the pandemic and closing the office Andrew said, “In an instant the office was closed with practically no prior notice, businesses were thrown into a state of emergency, survival became priority one. We were forced to adapt quickly, and our teams responded superbly - everyone supported each other and worked tirelessly to ensure our customer service levels were maintained whilst working remotely.”
Bringing in local contractors including builders, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators and flooring fitters, the chapel was gradually transformed. New carpets were laid throughout alongside upgraded tiling and signage, custom made white glass desktops now adorn each desk, new furniture is in situ and the staffroom/kitchen has been enhanced. The chapel is now Pinterest and Instagram ready, with New York loft vibes, the space is clean and modern with lots of attention to detail and homely touches.
Andrew says: “We went to town on what was already a great place to work”. Having celebrated the re-launch with staff members old and new, Alison proudly added, “To see the amazement on the faces of the team and the buzz about the office was incredible! This team surpassed our high expectations during lockdown, and they deserve the best possible work environment. This isn't just a refurb. It's an investment in winners.”
Ten new starters joined the companies during lockdown, so their first time visiting the office was for the refurb re-opening event, which also involved them meeting their new colleagues for the first time not on a screen.