Gonzo's bar saved and set to reopen after funding deal agreed
- Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017
A popular Norwich bar which went into liquidation in November has been saved ahead of lockdown easing - and will reopen on Wednesday.
The company behind bar and restaurant Gonzo's Tea Room, on London Street, appointed liquidators in November, saying the pandemic had a significant impact on business.
But owner Mike Baxter said they had been saved ahead of lockdown easing by a friend from Canada, Jesse Fulton, a retired professional snowboarder, Olympic coach and businessman.
It means Gonzo's will reopen on Wednesday, when Norfolk goes into tier two of the government's restrictions. Brix and Bones, Mr Baxter's steak restaurant, which fully opened in September, is unaffected and will reopen on Friday.
He said: "Covid caught us at the wrong time. We were financially extended, but we thought in a good place to honour all debts with our suppliers, many of whom we had happy payment plans with.
"However when Covid struck it stopped the world but it didn't stop our commitments. Despite having no income, we did our best, but we simply couldn't keep up."
He said his main goal was two-fold - protect staff and their jobs, and honour payments to suppliers.
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He said the deal with Mr Fulton did both, and ensured all staff kept their jobs.
"Covid has been a real nightmare, but now with a vaccine on the horizon all I have is hope that we can all have normality again soon, and that we can all smile over a beer and a burger again soon," he said.
When asked why it was so key for people to support local, he said: "The Lanes and the market are literally the soul of the city. The independents are what make the city unique. Without them every city would be the same, but we're not the same, we're Norwich and we love it that way."
He said it would be a long road back from coronavirus, but thanked Mr Fulton, his staff and suppliers, and said he would now be able to continue living his dream and doing amazing things in Norwich.
Mr Fulton, founder and president of 365 Sports Inc, runs 5km Foam Fest events, a popular obstacle course for families, and is hoping to bring the events to the UK.