Dragon deli delights

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Community-owned pub, the Green Dragon at Exelby near Bedale has opened its brand-new shop and café, employing three new local people.

The creation of the delicatessen shop and café is the latest development since the Green Dragon was taken over by the community and re-opened in December 2018. Both will serve the rural Dales community as well as catering for tourists and visitors to the area.

Tom and Becci Baker took over the tenancy and operation of the pub when it opened and are experienced in the licensed retail trade having worked previously in city centre bars.

Tom Baker said: “Becci and I were excited to move to a country pub and had lots of ideas to share with the community. The shop and café have really extended our appeal to new people and villagers who don’t traditionally use the pub. We have a group that use the café every Tuesday morning now to meet up.”

The shop and café are open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 9am to 12 midday on Sundays. Otherwise, if anyone needs anything after 5pm, items can still be purchased over the bar. The shop stocks essential items, locally sourced produce and delicatessen-style goodies such as local chutneys, home-made pork pies, cakes and scotch eggs, and fresh bread baked by the Bedale Community Bakery.

Employing a further three local people dedicated to the café and shop as well as a new role that spans both pub and café/shop, Tom and Becci now have fifteen staff in total. In addition, the new services save locals an 8-mile round trip to Bedale.

While developing the café and shop, the Green Dragon Community Benefit Society approached Pub is The Hub for advice and support and were able to secure two community services grants of £3,000 each towards costs.

John Walker, secretary of the Green Dragon Community Benefit Society said: “The wealth of experience that Pub is The Hub has contributed has helped us to really make the most of our much-loved community asset and we are most grateful for the grants. The Green Dragon is really the only social meeting point for the village, so the pub, café and shop are essential rural services.”

When the Green Dragon closed its doors in April 2018, the Exelby community galvanised support through a share issue, grants and loans and purchased the pub in October 2018. They began a renovation programme that has, so far, included the bar, dining area, toilets, kitchen and adjacent cottage. Work to the exterior of the pub and beer garden area is also taking place along with a full refurbishment upstairs into B&B accommodation starting in June.

John Longden, Chief Executive for Pub is The Hub said: “With the community fully behind them, Tom and Becci have the support they need to make this fantastic scheme a success. We wish them all the best.”

Tom Baker, Nigel Williams, John Walker, John Longden and Becci Baker