Yeoford is a small village that is situated about 10 miles from Exeter. The area is very rural with a few farms and cottages, a community hall and the pub.
Sarah and James Parkinson bought the freehold of the 19th Century pub in 2018 after it came on the market following the failure of a community buy out. They opened the pub in March 2019 after completing a nine-month refurbishment. Both James and Sarah were keen to support those living in the local community.
The publicans spoke to residents in the village and it became obvious that there was a need for a local shop. Yeoford does not have a convenience store and locals were keen for a shop to be brought back to the village.
In March 2020 when pubs were closed due to the Covid pandemic the Parkinson’s immediately opened The Pub Up Shop in a renovated room at the back of the pub meaning it also has its own entrance.
It opened selling a range of local produce, dairy, meat and essentials such as toilet rolls as well as takeaway food.
The shop opens Wednesday to Saturday 12pm to 5pm and takes telephone orders for pick up. It opens for takeaway food 12pm to 6pm Wednesday to Sunday offering pub favourites such as Fish & Chips as well as specials such as Pork and Chorizo scotch egg, smoked salmon & Crayfish tarts and its famous Sunday lunch.
Outcomes so far:
- The operation of the shop with its separate entrance provided a safe environment for both residents and the publicans through the pandemic.
- A call and collect system was launched during the pandemic where the Parkinson’s found themselves rushed off their feet selling everything from toilet rolls to locally made marmalade, chocolate biscuits to minced beef.
- Once restrictions eased, the publicans found certain products weren’t selling as consumers went back to their former shopping habits. This has seen them change the operation of the shop to ask for 24-hours notice for fresh products such as bread, dairy, fish and meat.
Lessons to learn:
- The shop has helped with the health and wellbeing of the village as it offered a place for people to see a friendly face even during the lockdowns of the pandemic.
- It is important to respond to the needs of customers with the shop now focusing on stocking local products where possible and also products with a long shelf life.
- Keep promoting the village store. The publicans advertise the store in the local village magazine but are looking to relaunch and remind those locally what the shop can offer.
Regional advisor for Pub is The Hub Reg Clarke said:
“The pub has proved to be a vital part of the local community and the shop has been a lifeline to many of those living locally.”