Family-run Shropshire pub to close as soaring food and energy costs hit home

A popular family run pub in Wem is set to close on Sunday after becoming a victim of crippling cost rises.

The pub is set to close this Sunday
The pub is set to close this Sunday

Dawn Davies said her family had been forced to make the 'heartbreaking decision' to terminate their lease at the Horse and Jockey in Ellesmere Road, Northwood.

And she fears other pubs will be forced to follow suit as the cost of living crisis and soaring prices continue to have a devastating impact.

Dawn, who runs the pub with husband Derren and daughters Taylor and Kaitlin, revealed their closing date had been brought forward to this Sunday after initially planning to shut on Friday, September 30.

The family had taken on the lease during lockdown in November 2020 and early signs had been positive.

But Dawn said the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine, soaring energy prices and the cost of living have now forced them to cut their losses.

She said: "We had never run a pub before, in Covid, the slowly and steadily approach was ideal for us.

"We put a lot of work, building up the outside dining area and we were as busy when that was in place than if we had been open fully because we could still cater for customers in the garden.

"When pubs reopened and business picked up for everyone, things were still going well.

"When we first took over the VAT rate was five per cent, which was good, but it literally went to 20 per cent as everything else rose in cost – the price of the minimum wage went up and price of food in some cases has quadrupled.

"You look at things like the cost of oil and mayonnaise, for example. I used to pay £4 for a bucket of mayonnaise and now it's between £10-£15. The price of fish doubled. It's been crazy.

"The electricity is, of course, another scary one. The overheads we have with that here are just unbelievable and, certainly, I fear others won't be able to make pubs pay.

"The rent you pay is a drop in the ocean compared to the bills coming out of this place. Prices have gone up so massively and you can't charge the people coming in what you need to charge so we have got to a point where we just haven't been able to survive."

Despite making the decision to cut their losses, Dawn said she had no regrets and added: "We have worked hard as a family.

"My daughters work here, my husband, I've been cooking in the kitchen. It's been a nice environment to work in but it is what it is.

"We don't regret it for a minute but we have ploughed a lot of personal money into it that we will never get back and unfortunately we can't keep doing that. I worry there are going to be a lot of pubs in a similar situation in the next six months, for sure."

She said there are talks of people in the area buying the Horse and Jockey as a 'community pub' but, as she prepares to call time on her lease, said: "It would be lovely to see everyone throughout Sunday for a last drink with us at The Horse and Jockey."

The pub will be open from 12pm until late on Sunday.

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