The Red Lion Inn in Shobrooke dates back to the 1580s and is situated in the Devon countryside. The business is run by the family team of Jane Johnson, husband Steve Johnson and daughter Natalie Dyson.
The pub offers real ales, local ciders, gins from the West Country and Wales and coffee from local roasters Crediton Coffee Company. The Red Lion Inn also serves good pub food and also has accommodation with three en-suite letting rooms. It also has a beer garden with magnificent views of the countryside and is well supported by the local community.
The aim of the project was to open a village shop in response to requests from the local community. The much-needed service for local residents was designed to help those that are less able to travel for groceries. The village is situated a few miles from the nearest town and there is very little public transport.
When the country went into lockdown in March 2020 the pub set up a telephone and online food ordering service for its local customers. After requests from the local community they decided that a shop was crucially important for the village.
The shop is situated just off of the main front door of the pub in a room that needed building work including fitted shelving as well as a purpose built counter, a fridge and freezer.
The shop now offers fresh produce and items suggested by the customers in the village.
Outcomes so far:
The village shop has helped to cut down on food miles.
The local MP for central Devon Mel Stride has visited the Red Lion Inn and shop just recently to give his support to the owners for their hard work.
The shop has helped to bring in new customers and neighbours that the pub owners have never met before.
The shop is helping to combat loneliness and isolation while keeping the community spirit high.
The new shop means the pub has been able to expand its ready meal range, produced by daughter Natalie, to help those in the community that are less able to travel.
Lessons to Learn:
- Rural village pubs need many strings to their bow to create a local hub.
- The setting up of the shop was easier than expected, according to Jane Johnson but actually stocking the right products for the diverse local community has been the biggest challenge.
What The Pub is The Hub regional advisor Reg Clarke said about the project:
“It takes a lot of commitment to do something like this while running a local pub during a pandemic.”
Contribution from Licensee £613
Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Grant £3000
Total Project Costs £3613