'We had to survive it' - Pub owner reflects on first year in business

Landlords Christopher Brown and Cara Green with traffic light system installed for the loos inside T

Landlords Christopher Brown and Cara Green. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A couple who opened a pub just two weeks before the pandemic have spoken about how they have survived their first year in business.

Cara Green and Christopher Brown opened the Sculthorpe Aviator on March 8 hoping to bring the community back together.

Fifteen days later they were told to close their doors for the first time.

On that opening night, they would never have expected that in the next year they would only trade for a quarter of it, but they have survived it, as they had no other choice.

The Sculthorpe Aviator in Fakenham. Picture: Archant

The Sculthorpe Aviator just before it opened in Fakenham back in 2020. - Credit: Archant

“We have survived this lockdown and it never crossed our minds that we wouldn't. We had to survive it.

“We put our blood, sweat and all of our savings into The Aviator. All we ask now is that the community carries on supporting local trust in the fact that every care is and will be taken to prevent any harm to our customers and staff.


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The couple, who also own the seafood restaurant Sands in Wells, saw the former home of the Hourglass pub as the perfect chance to expand their business.

A traffic light system has been installed for the loos inside The Aviator pub in Scultorpe. It was t

A traffic light system has been installed for the loos inside The Aviator pub in Scultorpe. It was the idea of pub landlords Christopher Brown and Cara Green.Byline: Sonya Duncan(C) Archant 2020 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

As restrictions have eased they have tried to make things work, such as installing a traffic light in the pub to help maintain social distancing, but opening and closing have hit them hard in the pocket.

“The waste to fresh produce and beer was heart-breaking and the cost to replenish stock three times, thousands of pounds gone, never to be seen again,” she said.

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“About £3000 worth of stock was thrown away which will need to be restocked.

“All the beer has gone to waste or is out of date, bottles of wine have gone off, soft drinks from the gun have also gone out of date. Then there's the worry of everything working properly once switched back on after three and a half months of being turned off.”

The Sculthorpe Aviator in Fakenham. Picture: Archant

The Sculthorpe Aviator in Fakenham. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Now the couple is looking forward to starting again when pubs reopen later next month.

“The local support and local community are fantastic, they are the ones that kept us going.

“As for this last year and the beginning of 2021. We wish to sweep it under the carpet and plan for bigger things ahead. Functions, parties, Christmas and one hell of a New Year's Eve party to welcome in 2022.”

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