July 4th has a strong link with American Independence Day but here in the UK following our own period of restrictions due to COVID, independence day could have a greater meaning.
For a number of our local businesses across Ashfield and Mansfield, COVID has hit them hard, from small flower retailers, restaurants and hospitality businesses, right through to the good old British pub. When these businesses were forced to close their doors on the 23rd March, many of the owners were rightly concerned about the future. With overheads and staff to keep paying, the outlook was one of uncertainty.
No-one knew how long we would be waiting to return to our high streets or to watch the match on the big screen whilst enjoying a pint with their pals.
Now here we are almost 4 months later and the restrictions on non – essential retail began to ease around 2 weeks ago, the news from the high street has been slightly promising with Mansfield seeing higher footfall than other parts of the country, although the typical British weather this week may have hindered progress. Retail owners have been busy implementing health and safety measures to try and keep both staff and customers safe, dealing with a situation that they never dreamed they would ever come across. It has certainly been a very different world that we have emerged into.
This weekend, it is the return of the pubs, everyone has been waiting with bated breath for that freshly pulled pint and the hum of the conversation around the bar. As some of us rush to get a pint in with excitement, we would like you to take a minute to remember the fact that Mansfield and Ashfield has a number of local independent pubs that could really do with your custom and your support at this time to help sustain their business for the near future.
One such business owner is Jono Edwards owner/director of:
The Lion Farnsfield
The Junction Sutton in Ashfield
And Why Not
Jono has managed to keep a hold of all 250 staff during the crisis using a mixture of his own reserves and government furlough schemes. He has also used his pubs to provide a food takeaway service wherever he possibly could.
Jono and his team have been working really hard over the last few weeks to ensure all venues that can open will do so as safely as practicably possible.
Whilst he may be the owner of a number of bars in the area, he is still an independent owner and as such doesn’t have the reserves that the bigger multi-national chains have to protect their businesses during difficult trading times. This is true of many of our independents and that’s why now, more than ever, we need to do what we can to support them to get them up and running and keep them going, over what will be a difficult few months.
People like Jono take the time to invest in their towns and look after their staff and tend to love the area they operate in, this means they will do everything they can to get through difficult times as the business is more than just a number on a spreadsheet.
So, if you are heading to the pub to have a celebratory beer tomorrow, try and remember to have your first pint in a local independent and support your local businesses.
Together, we mean business!