The St John Inn near Torpoint in Cornwall has opened a village shop in record time to support its community in lockdown.
A standalone shed has been built next to the pub, in the car park, and initially opened with stocks of bakery and dairy essentials that will build into a wider range of groceries and other locally sourced goods. The shop is unmanned during the Covid 19 lockdown so that customers can observe social distancing rules and operates a cash-only honesty box system. Items are priced in multiples of 10p to make cash payments easier.
Owners Gill and Rob Berry had approached Pub is The Hub earlier in the year for help and advice and had been able to successfully apply for a grant from the Community Services Fund to support their costs. As the Covid 19 crisis was announced Gill and Rob accelerated their three-month project into a matter of weeks tracking progress for their community on their Facebook and web pages.
Gill explained: “We were fortunate in that we had most of the materials we needed to build the shop as the lockdown was announced. We worked hard during the early weeks in a stifling heatwave but managed to open with some very basic essentials. When we come out of lockdown the shop will continue to serve the village with a wider range of stock and will complement our pub business.”
Gill and Rob Berry purchased the St John pub freehold in 2017 and have built back trade, after a three-year closure, to bring it back as the main hub of the village. They serve real ales and home cooked food, run regular events such as quizzes and beer tastings and have a small campsite for visitors.
Pub is The Hub advisor, Reg Clarke added: “Gill and Rob pulled out all the stops to get the essential village service up and running with such a quick turnaround. Beyond Covid they hope that this community hub will be a social meeting place to help fight isolation and loneliness.”