Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Landlord celebrates 10 years in Henley pub

THE landlord of a Henley pub is celebrating 10 years in business.

THE landlord of a Henley pub is celebrating 10 years in business.

Neil Ainsworth, who runs the Argyll in Market Place with his wife Claire, will mark the milestone by holding a party with a hog roast and live music in the summer.

The couple, who have a six-year-old daughter Fern, also plans to launch weekly open mic nights at the pub.

Mr Ainsworth said, “We feel very happy to have moved to Henley. Our daughter was born here and we have lots of really nice, charismatic customers. Lots of my staff have been with me for the whole 10 years and are very popular with our customers.

“We have built a very popular and sustainable business and we thank our customers and all the people who have supported us over the years.”

Over the last decade, the pub has featured in ITV’s

Midsomer Murders
, so tour operators include it on their tours. Mr Ainsworth said, “That was a massive opportunity for us. When the tours come here we like to do quirky things like let the customers have a go at serving behind the bar.

“Many people come here looking for a positive Henley experience and we try to fit the Argyll into that.”

He said the smoking ban in 2007 had led him to focus on food, adding, “We have a good business built on home-made, quality products and locally sourced food, such as meat from Gabriel Machin butchers next door.

“We like to keep the pub traditional and appeal to young and older people,“ he added.

Meanwhile, the Corner Shop in Lower Shiplake is also celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The Station Road store was opened by Mark and Carol Harvey after they moved to the village from Leicestershire. The couple, who have a 22-year-old son Christopher, previously worked in the wholesale grocery trade.

Mrs Harvey said, “We can’t believe how quickly 10 years have passed and how many people have come and gone in that time. This was a huge change of lifestyle for us when we started and it was hard work but great fun and we are still enjoying it.

“We haven’t done much to celebrate. It’s just business as usual though we’ve been congratulated by a few regulars who know about it.”

Councillor Tudor Taylor, chairman of Shiplake Parish Council, said, “They have been fabulous for the the village and have created a hub around which much of village life revolves.”

In 2012 the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council named the shop the best independent village store in the county.

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