It is time to fling open the doors at this pub in Derbyshire – which belongs to its customers in every sense.
The Spotted Cow, in Holbrook, had its lights turned off and its doors locked in 2014 but is opening once more this weekend.
Campaigners from the Holbrook Community Society had been fighting to buy their beloved village pub and finally, last year, it was declared an asset of community value.
A grand total of 225 investors joined forces to buy the building and a car park for £275,000.
The society is now ready to open at the Spotted Cow pub and Spotted Calf café on schedule after extensive work inside and out, having got the keys three months ago.
After a campaign by locals with the intention of rekindling the village hangout, it’s the latest pub in the land to be co-operatively owned and run by the community. Now, the grand opening of the pub will be at 2pm on Sunday.
Stephanie Limb is the secretary of the community society and has been part of the adventure from day one. She said: “We’ve bought and lovingly refurbished the pub, creating the addition of a beautiful café and tea rooms, The Spotted Calf.”
The tea rooms will be opening for the first time at 10am on Saturday.
Stephanie said: “We have employed four members of staff to run the café and we have a rota of volunteers who will help run it from 9am to 5pm seven days a week.
“There will be, most importantly, bacon sandwiches. We did a bit of research and we found out that this was a must with residents, so people asked us for them and they will be here!”
TIMELINE: How things moo-ved at the Spotted Cow
2014: The pub closed its doors
August 2016: Planning application goes in to build housing on part of the land
September 2016: Pub was declared an Asset of Community Value
November 2016: Planning application turned down for plans to demolish part of the pub and build eight houses on the land
April 2017: The new owners get the keys to the building and start their refurbishment
15 July 2017: Grand opening to the community of the Spotted Calf café
16 July 2017: Grand opening of Spotted Cow pub
The café will use local suppliers, including Bluebells ice cream from Spondon, baked goods from The Loaf in Crich, Emma’s cakes from Ripley and Peak Bean coffee ground here in Derbyshire.
Stephanie said: “We want to be ethical and local and all profits will be re-invested, as well as being fed back to our investors as dividends.”
Ms Limb has said that the project has been tough but rewarding. She said: “There’s been blood, sweat and beers but we’re ready to open on time and on track.
“As soon as the initial works were done inside to make it safe, we hosted lots of working parties to clean, clear, paint and polish ready to reopen. We are really excited and grateful for the support of The Plunkett Foundation, Crowdfunder and the local media.
“We want The Spotted Cow to really put our village on the map and bring visitors to explore our part of Derbyshire – helping the whole of the local economy.”
Behind the bar at the pub is a husband-and-wife team, landlord and landlady Paul and Cheryl Brew.
Their nominative determinism perhaps made them gravitate towards this type of work involving ale, but it is true that they have had success at their previous projects too.
Paul and Cheryl used to run the Hawk and Buckle in Etwall until February 2014 and the Robin Hood in Lambley, Nottingham, before their arrival here.
Both pubs were going concerns and they turned them around.
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The tenancy is now theirs here and they will run the Spotted Cow to pay rent to the owners, so you could say they have 225 landlords.
Paul, who will be 50 in nine days’ time, said: “Our priority is locally-sourced beer and we are supporting micro-breweries too.
“Our suppliers are the Hairy Brewers here in Holbrook, Dancing Duck in Derby and Burton Bridge amongst others.”
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Opening regularly from Sunday to Thursday at noon to 11pm and Friday to Saturday closing at midnight, Paul and his wife are really relishing the challenge. Local is at the heart of everything we are trying to do and we are thrilled to bits to be here.
“We want to be the hub everyone comes to and my aim will be to greet everyone who comes through the door by their first name in due course.
Paul said: “There will be no sticky floors here and standards will be key to keeping our customers.
“We are dog-friendly too with free dog treats at the bar because we want this to be for everyone.”
The community has been involved in the whole project every step of the way.
Brian Singleton, 67, is a retired carpenter and joiner living in the village.
He has helped out for the past eight weeks and given his time for free, crafting – among other things – an impressive reclaimed wooden seat in the snug area.
Brian has Parkinson’s and he told us the pub project has given him new purpose and a distraction.
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Brian said: “I will be here on Sunday lunchtime because I used to drink here and I have really missed it. It is fantastic to enjoy a pint once more and sit on the seats we have put together.”
Stephanie said: “We want to thank everyone – all of our residents and volunteers who have given their time and passion to create this.”
We got a sneak peek on the inside before any customers have been allowed in so don’t forget to watch our Derby Telegraph access-all-areas video tour at the top of this article!
Source: Derby Telegraph