The Sitwell Arms in Morton near Alfreton in Derbyshire has opened a village shop in the pub car park creating an essential new service for the local community and surrounding villages with support from rural pub champions, Pub is The Hub.
Experienced pub landlords Paul Lightwood and Russell Martin have been running Ei Group-owned pub, the Sitwell Arms for 18 months and have built up a reputation for excellent home-made food, drinks and a community atmosphere – as well as their large collections of hens and ducks in the garden.
Inspired by a visit to the pub by Pub is The Hub advisor, Hugh Wilson, Paul and Russell decided to take the plunge and install a portacabin in the pub’s rear carpark to create a village shop. In addition to offering advice and support, Pub is The Hub was also able to contribute a grant of £3,000 from their Community Services Fund to help towards the cost of a shop counter, the steps into the shop, a fridge and the electrical installations.
Opening times are from 5.30am to 7pm from Monday to Friday and at weekends from 6am to 7pm on Saturdays and 7am to 4pm on Sundays. The shop is staffed by Russell with additional help from Claire Kozlowski (pictured below).
In addition to a full range of convenience items and the pub’s own-laid eggs, the shop is selling local fruit and vegetables, wine, beer, confectionery, dairy produce, bread, newspapers and freshly-made rolls and snacks. Local vicar, Father Chris Andrew (pictured below) popped by and declared the new venture a ‘real asset’ for the village.
Russell said: “The shop has only been open a couple of weeks and we are building regular custom slowly as word spreads. We would be happy to have any suggestions about what we should stock. Meanwhile, we are so grateful to Pub is The Hub for giving us the inspiration and supporting us with their grant towards the overall cost.”
Hugh Wilson, regional advisor from Pub is The Hub added: “Russell and Paul have made a really wonderful job with this project. They have set out purely with the intention of providing a valuable new service to Morton and the surrounding villages and for that, we must applaud them and wish them luck.”