Keeping it local: Broads' pub shop expands after lockdown success

Alison Brewster, landlady and chocolatier, who has extended the Stokesby Village Shop at the Ferry I

Alison Brewster, landlady and chocolatier, who has extended the Stokesby Village Shop at the Ferry Inn due to its popularity. With her is Aaron Hanson, shop manager and baker. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A shop in a pub has expanded to four times its original size after proving a hit during lockdown.

Alison Brewster, at the Ferry Inn in Stokesby, said she had been "blown away" by its success after a mix of daily supplies and home-made cakes and treats saw her go from pint pulling to grocery packing.

Alison Brewster, landlady and chocolatier, who has extended the Stokesby Village Shop at the Ferry I

Alison Brewster, landlady and chocolatier, who has extended the Stokesby Village Shop at the Ferry Inn due to its popularity. With her is Aaron Hanson, shop manager and baker. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Now the shop, which opened during the pandemic last year, has expanded into the former poolroom offering a bigger range including local crafts and food, as well as Mrs Brewster's famous home-made chocolates which sell out most days.

Mrs Brewster hailed the support of the local community adding she was proud to be able to offer the lifeline service and provide a platform for other local businesses.

"The shop in the village closed in 2018," she said. "So we had a year without a shop at all."


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"I decided to open one and then Covid hit and I wasn't sure if I should do it at all or wait until the pub reopened and the boating trade came back.

"But every time I walked the dogs round the village people kept asking when it was going to open so I decided to just do it."

The Stokesby Ferry Inn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Stokesby Ferry Inn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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Initially the shop was going to be seasonal but because of demand will now be year-round.

"Because of Covid it became more about the local community," she said.

"In the end we opened the shop when there were no boats."

The shop stocks basic provisions as well as fresh fruit and veg.

The Stokesby Village Shop at the Ferry Inn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Stokesby Village Shop at the Ferry Inn. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Having more space means they can also sell the chocolates which Mrs Brewster is sometimes up all night making, as well as crafts made in the village like wax melts and paper crafts, and also dog biscuits made nearby.

"We weren't expecting it to be as popular as it has been at all," she added.

"We weren't even sure if we should open or if we should wait. We have just been blown away.

"We're really chuffed."

The Ferry Inn at Stokesby

The Ferry Inn at Stokesby - Credit: Archant

On the pub side she said Boris Johnson's lockdown announcement on Monday was better than she thought it would be, giving a clear timeline to work to.

All being well under the roadmap she plans to re-open the pub garden on April 12.

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