Laurie's areas of expertise were business and showbusiness; he was the partner of talent agent Lenny Phillips and the pair often divided responsibilities between their offices in London and Manchester. His wife, Rosemary Frazer, was tolerant of his many extramarital affairs but Laurie didn't always tell his girlfriends that he was married.
In 1963, Laurie arrived in Manchester to run the office there. He worked closely with talent scout Dennis Tanner and became interested in Dennis's act Walter Potts, a singer whose career took off when he recorded a song with group The Brainwashers. Laurie was annoyed to learn that Walter's contract with Dennis only existed on gentleman's agreement, and that Walter had gone back on his word and signed with London manager Billy Reno. By this time, Laurie had become friendly with Dennis's mother Elsie but Dennis was still worried that Laurie would sack him. Laurie eventually did fire him - but for closing the office over Christmas, losing the agency eleven bookings.
In January 1964, Laurie began to think about possible investments in Weatherfield and became interested in opening a nightclub in the basement of Elliston's Raincoat Factory in Coronation Street. His plans were opposed on moral grounds by lay preacher Leonard Swindley but the Laurie bought a share of the factory and was granted a licence without opposition. Laurie gave Elsie the job of croupier at the club and saw that Dennis was given a job also.
The club opened in March after a slight delay resulting from the collapse of the casino room ceiling. Rosemary visited from London to see the new club, surprising Elsie who knew nothing about her existence. Elsie was appalled to learn that she was just Laurie's bit on the side - even though Rosemary was fine about it - and resigned from the club. Laurie tried to apologise but Elsie refused to let him in her house, and threw all the presents he had bought her at him in the Street. Laurie decided to return to London with Rosemary, leaving Gus Lowman in charge of the club.