Burston pub calls time at the bar to become mini-supermarket
A Burston pub has repurposed itself as a shop, offering supplies to vulnerable residents who cannot manage to get anything from busier supermarkets.
The Burston Crown, in Mill Road, started the scheme last week after a customer suggested it put its links to wholesalers to good use.
The shop sells everything from coffee, rice, pasta, soaps, potatoes and handmade chocolates – the latter to celebrate the Mothering Sunday.
Bev Kembery, who has owned the pub for the last 13 years alongside her husband Steve, said that regular custom had dropped off sharply following the Government’s call for residents to avoid pubs, bars and restaurants.
She said: “We had the best weekend we have had for quite a while the other weekend – it was really busy. Then the news came on Monday of Boris Johnson telling people to stay away from pubs – and the phone rang off the hook with people cancelling.
“One of our busiest days was supposed to be Mothering Sunday, and we only had two tables booked.
“One of our customers said why don’t you get some food in, seeing as we had access to a wholesaler.
“We thought it was a good idea, as there’s a lot of people who I think are getting stressed going into a supermarket at the moment.”
Mr Kembery, 51, is also doing deliveries to customers who are self-isolating, dropping off essential goods and even home-cooked meals.
“Steve’s been doing the deliveries on a moped – we’re calling him ‘Steve-eroo’,” said Mrs Kembery.
“We started getting people ringing up asking if they can have a takeaway roast dinner delivery. Since then, we have done fish and chips, lasagne and sausage sandwiches.
“We’re also doing beer – we’re using milk bottles. We’re just asking people to bring them in, then we will sterilise them and use them.
“And it’s not just elderly people – the first delivery we did was to a young couple.”
Other pubs in the area have also begun doing deliveries, which Mrs Kembery insists is evidence of community spirit in action.
“It’s great because us and all the other pubs in the area are keeping in touch with one another,” she said.
“People are being so kind and neighbourly. Everyone’s offering their help to people. We are getting so much support.
“I think that’s the overwhelming thing about it all. The neighbourly thing had sort of gone for a while, but now everyone is makes sure everyone else is OK, and that’s really nice.”
After the Government ordered all pub, bars, and restaurants to close, many independent businesses have raised concerns about the lack of clarity on whether they can still operate effectively as takeaways.
However, this week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed that pubs are allowed to serve hot food and drinks, via a delivery service or collection, provided nobody eats the food on the premises.
However, all social distancing rules must be ensured to, including making sure all customers stay more than two metres apart from one another.
The Burston Crown is open from 10am to 7pm, and is only taking card payments, as a means of containing the spread of coronavirus.
Anyone wishing to place an order can contact the pub on 01379 741257.
More by this authorJoe Hadden