Friday, 17 September 2021

Couple quit pub because they can’t afford losses

THE couple who run the pub in Gallowstree Common are leaving after two years.

THE couple who run the pub in Gallowstree Common are leaving after two years.

James Stone and his partner Emma Richards say they have been struggling to make a profit and can no longer afford to run the Reformation in Horsepond Road.

Miss Richards, who was head chef at the Brakspear pub, said: “We’ve just had enough. We’ve lost a lot of money, although we’ve had a good amount of support from everyone.

“It’s a nice little country pub and we’ve run it just the way we wanted. We’ve met a lot of nice people and made new friends.

“It will be a shame to go. We were in two minds about it and are upset to be leaving.”

As well as running the pub, the couple have jobs — Mr Stone is a property developer and Miss Richards runs her own cleaning company and is a part-time dental nurse.

Miss Richards, who grew up in Sonning Common and is a former pupil at Chiltern Edge School, said it had been a struggle to balance all the work. “We’ve been here as much as possible,” she said. “I start the cleaning job at 7am and come back to the pub at about 10.30am and then I’m here until about 1am.

“I don’t take any breaks. You get into a routine — your body adapts and you get used to it.”

She said that although running the pub was hard work the couple had tried to stay positive.

“It’s not as easy as we expected it to be,” she said. “We went into it a little blind. We took over because we liked the pub.

“We’ve made some mistakes and learned things along the way but we’re happy with how we’ve run the business.”

Miss Richards, who was previously an apprentice chef for Antony Worrall Thompson’s pub portfolio, said the recession had hit the licensed trade generally and the Reformation was no different. “People don’t have the money to spend in the pub,” she said. “That’s why we need our day jobs.

“If there’s not enough money coming in, after we’ve had to pay the staff wages, rent and everything else, there’s no money left for us.

“We’ve come to the point where we can’t afford to do it anymore. It’s just the way it is.”

The couple, who have been living above the pub, have had a house built for them in Shiplake Bottom, Sonning Common.

They will leave on October 2 and will be succeeded by Samantha Murray and Richard Grant, who were in temporary charge at The Crown in Nuffield until recently.

Miss Richards said: “The worst thing about leaving is I don’t know what I’m going to do with all my free time. Hopefully, I will be able to see my friends a bit more and I might take on a few more hours of the dental nurse role.”

The couple replaced Anna Miller and Ali Yazdi, who had run the pub for nine months.

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