Man sells bar after 19 years - but can't say goodbye
- Credit: IAN BURT
The owner of a town bar has expressed his sadness at not being able to say goodbye after selling up after 19 years.
Liam O’Sullivan, who runs the Gallery Bistro in Fakenham town centre, has announced he has sold the building to Grocott and Murfitt building company, as he looks to spend more time with his family.
Mr O’Sullivan, who opened up in the market town in 2002, said he wished there was a chance to say goodbye to customers.
“My biggest regret is not having the opportunity to be open and having the ability to have customers together and invite them all in and have a send-off,” he said.
“It’s been an absolutely incredible experience, I have met some wonderful people and had a wonderful time.
“Some customers are very good friends, even part of my family and I’ll miss them massively.”
He worked on renovating the building and, over the last two decades, has offered people a place to have some lunch or evening entertainment with events such as live music and comedy nights.
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He also arranged the Fakenham Fayre, which he hopes to continue.
The owner said the thought of selling the place has been in his mind for the last couple of years. The pandemic meant he spent more time at home with his wife and children, giving him some time to reflect.
“I didn’t have that time before. In the thick of running the business, it is easier not to stop and reflect,” he said.
“Having the chance to spend time with my children and nothing else, makes you realise what is important.
“I lived and breathed my business. It was more about realising the importance of the work-life balance and I was probably more work than life side of the balance.”
Grocott and Murfitt said it would continue running the site as a bar.
Teresa Haughey, managing director at The Ostrich Inn, is part of the team launching the new business.
She said with lockdown lifting, people would want to support businesses on their doorstep,
“Coming out of lockdown, everyone is looking forward to socialising and eating out with ‘locals’ being very much centred first in people's thoughts,” she said.
“We are passionate about protecting the future growth and prosperity of the town and its residents.
"This acquisition will provide jobs and future opportunities for the local community, along with a sense of regeneration.”