Micropub at the community-owned Fox Inn, Garboldisham, goes from strength to strength
PUBLISHED: 11:24 21 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:19 21 May 2017
It stood empty for nine years before it was acquired by a community group last year.
And now The Fox Inn, Garboldisham, is going from strength to strength as its micropub turns over a profit and renovations works push on.
For three nights a week the Grade-II listed 250-year-old building is packed with punters who are pleased to once again enjoy an East Anglian brewed ale in their local.
The micropub launched in December as a way for villagers to enjoy the pub while works to restore the much-loved building took place.
Peter Smith, the director of the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Company, said the micropub is doing better than he imagined.
“We are 20pc up on our budget,” he said. “We take £1,200 a week on average, which is not bad when we’re only open three days a week.
“Everybody remarks on the atmosphere. We try to make it a family atmosphere. We get all ages of people coming in. And this is what we wanted. There is an awful lot of love in the village for this pub.”
Members of the community fought hard to fundraise and buy the pub and had to fend off applications to change its use.
Fundraising to raise the £180,000 needed to buy the pub began in April 2016. Around £85,000 of that was raised by the community, 66 of which became shareholders, and the rest came from loans.
Keys were handed over to the community interest company in October and a celebration was held to mark the event.
There are now 106 shareholders and 30 volunteers who give up their time to work at the pub. Local tradesmen also offer services to help get the pub ready to become a restaurant.
Mr Smith said he hopes in between two and five years the restoration of the pub - which would include the opening of the restaurant, an upstairs banquet area and an extension - will be completed.
An old extension on the pub will also be redeveloped to house community business units such as a bakers and florist.
Mr Smith says he hopes the overall cost of buying the pub and the renovation works will cost £500,000 and grants and fundraising will pay for it.
The micropub is open on Fridays, from 5pm until 10pm, Saturdays, from 12pm until 10pm and Sundays, from 12pm until 5pm.
The pub will host a meet the brewer event and gin palace.
Graeme Reece owner of the Aleyard Brewery, in Riddlesworth, will be in attendance at the event on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28.
For more information about events visit Garboldisham Fox on Facebook.
The Fox Inn
The 250-year-old building was owned by the Wellington Pub Company when its last pint was poured in February 2007.
Various bids to redevelop the site off the A1066 and applications for change of use were rejected.
Members of the Fox Committee decided they were not ready to see their pub disappear.
The Fox Inn was listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2014. In January 2016 a six month moratorium was triggered, meaning the Fox Committee had until June 1 2016 to put in a bid to purchase it.
After a three-week fundraising campaign, which saw more than £180,000 raised, the Garboldisham Fox Community Interest Companyentered a bid which was accepted.
The keys to the pub were handed to the group in October 2016.
The first pint was pulled at a celebration day on October 8 2016.
The micropub has been going from strength to strength since its opening in December