Pub owner on how 'amazing' community support helped venue survive
- Credit: The Angel
A Suffolk pub owner has spoken of how an outpouring of community support helped to keep his venue going during the pandemic.
Marc Rogers and his partner Hannah took over The Angel, in Needham Market, in August 2019.
"We took the place over with the idea of doing private dining, a cafe during the week and then a bistro during the evenings," said Mr Rogers.
"Obviously, it all sort of went a bit crazy in March."
Just over six months into their new venture, coronavirus hit.
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Things were complicated further by the fact that because they hadn't been open very long, they were not eligible to be furloughed.
"It was a case of either try and make it work or just hand the keys back," said Mr Rogers.
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Undeterred by what was going on around them, the pair decided to adapt to the new situation and throw themselves into whatever happened next.
"We turned to doing homemade, takeaway burgers and then waffles and stuff like that, as well as doing afternoon teas," said Mr Rogers.
"We had to learn as we went on really to keep it working."
He said they also had to rethink how they promoted themselves in order to keep the business going.
"Rather than relying on people walking past and saying 'let's go in here', it was about making sure people knew where we were, what we were doing and to try to get them to use us if they could," said Mr Rogers.
Mr Rogers said that without the support he and Hannah have received, the fledgling business would not still be going today.
"We are really lucky the locals have supported us loads during lockdown," said Mr Rogers.
"People are so glad we did diversify. Many of the pubs around just shut their doors and that was it.
"We have many families who come for a takeaway every weekend and still do.
"They have been what makes it so worthwhile for us.
"The local support has been amazing. We are blown away by it."
After a tumultuous first 18 months in business, Mr Rogers says he is looking forward to getting closer to normal in the coming weeks as customers are allowed back inside.
"It's all very well giving people nice food but it's that experience when they come in," said Mr Rogers.
"It's giving them an all-round experience."