Tipi firm PapaKata ceases trading after being sunk by pandemic

TOP tipi firm PapaKata has ceased trading after being sunk by the coronavirus pandemic.

Owners Richard and Amanda Monaghan say they are ‘heartbroken’ after battling in vain to weather the storm.

They said in a statement that 2020 would have been the most successful year to date for PapaKata, which was originally based in York and has had its northern base in Sherburn in Elmet in recent years.

“In March, we were primed and ready to deliver a fantastic season of events,” they said. “Then coronavirus struck…

“We thought we’d weathered the worst of it through the summer. However increasing restrictions have, one by one, sunk our lifeboats.”

They said their industry had been ‘devastated,’ not qualifying for direct support from the Government which had been seen in other sectors, and the scale of the impact was immense, with revenue this year down by 93 per cent.

“As a team and company, we’ve done everything possible to ride out the storm: diversified, hustled, begged and borrowed, we’ve worked our socks off… but we’ve been in the fight of our lives with our hands tied behind our back,” they said.

“The PapaKata team delivered over 3,000 wonderful events in our 15 years, with a perfect 100 per cent completion record, of which we are incredibly proud.

“We are so sorry that we couldn’t find a solution to allow us to survive the pandemic.”

They said that for further information, people should contact the administrators on 01904 520116 or info@redmannicholsbutler.co.uk.

They added: “Richard and I are heartbroken, for both our wonderful team of event professionals, but also our clients. We are so sorry it has come to this.

“Much love, Amanda and Richard x”

PapaKata provided the pop-up tipi-style tent for Thor’s Tipi Bar in Parliament Street each Christmas and another installed in the shadow of York Minster in the summer of 2020 to provide local hospitality businesses with access to more outdoor space during the summer.

College Green was transformed as part of the city’s efforts to help businesses recover in the wake of lockdown, with the tent providing tables and chairs both inside and out, along with temporary toilets. 

A Thor’s Tipi Bar opened in the grounds of the Principal Hotel at the end of October but had to close because of the lockdown on November 5.

The tents are still in the grounds today but it isn’t known whether the bar will reopen in December, when – or if – the lockdown is lifted.

The Press reported as long ago as 2009 on the success of PapaKata, which was responsible for developing the UK’s largest wigwam-style events venue and had expanded to become the main provider of its kind in the north of England and Wales.

We reported that PapaKata, which had a giant storage facility in Acaster Malbis, saw turnover increase 50 per cent after winning a growing share of the corporate events market as well as a continuing demand for weddings and festivals.

It represented a triumph for founder Irish Richard who in 2006, with Amanda, his York-based bride, sought in vain to find and hire a similarly unusual and stylish maxi-tent for their wedding, and so bought a Kata tent themselves and realised there was a gap in the market.

“Put up in a matter of hours and comparable in cost to hiring a standard marquee, the company’s luxury tipi-style Kata tents take their inspiration from those used by the reindeer herders of Lapland, offering what the firm describes as “the luxury of a hotel venue under a canvas roof.”

York Press | News