During pub closures during the coronavirus pandemic, Stockport-based company, Almond Family Pubs, has found new ways to support their local community.
The Stockport pub company chose to close the doors of their six pubs ahead of the government enforced closure of the hospitality sector. While those early days and weeks were difficult for all, both financially and personally, the company looked for new ways to give back to their communities and keep their 200-strong team in work.
When Set Produce, Almond Family Pubs’ produce supplier, asked the company if they could set up a pop-up stall at the Puss in Boots, James Almond jumped at the chance. These pop-up markets gave a lifeline to local people when supermarket shelves were being cleared out by panic buyers and local people felt unsafe visiting larger stores. The fruit and vegetable stall was a huge success and Set Produce decided to expand across the other five pubs. Later on, Cold Choice, the pubs’ meat supplier, joined them, meaning local communities could easily purchase their fresh vegetables and meat all in one place without having to face excessive queues in supermarkets. James Almond commented,
It made sense for us to welcome this with open arms; although we were unable to open our doors, that didn’t mean we couldn’t help our communities and suppliers in other ways, we were so pleased to see how well the pop-up markets were received and we soon wanted to do more.”
The Jolly Sailor, the newest of the Almond Family Pubs, open for just 9 months before it was forced to close its doors, introduced their take-away service, giving the people of Davenport their well- missed roasts and pub classics. The take-aways at the Jolly Sailor were a success and they are planning to restart this service, along with the other pubs, in the coming days and weeks.
Based on the success of the pop-up stalls, the Almond family spotted an opportunity and opened up a pop-up coffee shop at the Jolly Sailor (pictured above) and later at the Puss in Boots. It seems the people of Stockport were missing their caffeine fix. The coffee shops were well received, and the opening coincided with the initial easing of lockdown measures when two people from different households were able to meet outside. With the addition of more pop-up stalls at the pubs, including MW Plants and Romlily Flowers, the coffee shops brought a little normality back to those who visited.
The Jolly Sailor and Puss in Boots will be continuing with their markets and have asked more craft stalls to join them to hopefully give these small, independent businesses more chance of getting back on their feet.
Vicki Williams (nee Almond) said,
We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive feedback we’ve received about the coffee shops. When we re-opened the doors on 6th July, we knew it was something we wanted to continue with. The Jolly Sailor and Puss in Boots are now open daily from 7.30am and we’ve grown quite the following of people wanting their early morning coffee fix and freshly baked pastries.
We’re delighted to have been able to help our communities throughout this difficult time. I’ll be honest, we didn’t sit down and plan most of it. It’s all come together organically from listening to our customers and adapting as quickly as we’ve been able to. It’s nice to see how all of these positive things have blossomed from what was frankly an awful situation.”