In It Together - Gary and Simon, Free Trade Inn, Sileby
Gary and Simon have been at the Free Trade Inn in Sileby for just over a year now. Celebrating their first year in lockdown was not what they had planned!
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Having previously worked alongside his father running another Everards pub, Alex took over the reins at The Dove, Evington in 2020.
Alex trained as a chef in the Royal Navy and then joined his father to work in the kitchen of the family pub. “I worked as a chef but was keen to learn about other parts of the business with the aim of having my own place eventually.” Following an opportunity to act as holding landlords with Everards, Alex knew he wanted something more permanent and when The Dove became available at the start of lockdown in 2020, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “The stars aligned, and The Dove became available just at the start of lockdown, which gave us the time and opportunity to refurb and put our own stamp on what is definitely a beautiful pub. We love it here.”
Since taking over at The Dove, Alex and partner, Rhe, have been able to put their own mark on the pub. “I really enjoy being an independent business owner, showcasing our own style and passion through day to day operations as well as bigger events!
We have a beer & cider festival coming up for the Queen’s Jubilee, plans for live music outside, and we’re excited to show what we’re all about (hopefully with some sunshine). Meeting people from all walks of life always keeps each day interesting as well and I enjoy priding myself on giving the highest standard of service to everyone that walks through the doors.”
Working with Everards, Alex and Rhe have felt supported during their time at The Dove especially during the lockdown period, which had such an enormous impact on hospitality businesses. “Everards were very supportive. They cancelled rent for many months during lockdown and even when bringing it back, they did this slowly and in a really manageable way as we were all battling restricted opening hours and outside dining.”
Running the pub as part of the Everards family has also allowed Alex and Rhe to form connections with other Everards business owners, which has been beneficial as they develop their own business. “We’ve really built a strong relationship with Everards. Over the past year we’ve had the opportunity to meet many of the senior members of the team and it’s been great to network and understand their passion for the trade which is so evident in how they treat their business owners.”
Having dreamt of running his own venue for a number of years, taking over The Dove has allowed Alex to put his own plans into place. When it comes to his advice for potential future business owners, he says it’s all about your vision and work ethic. “Start with a vision in mind and give it time! Hard work and consistency really do pay off. Our hands on experience before signing a tenancy (I worked in the trade for 8 years and Rhe for 4 years) also stood us in good stead to be able to deal with any bumps along the road!”
Alex and Rhe have certainly done this as they set about refurbishing the pub and restaurant, using the time allowed by the lockdown period to transform the pub into a modern and welcoming venue. “In terms of the building itself we absolutely love our refurbished restaurant - the floral ceiling and beautiful chairs make the dining experience so comfortable and enjoyable every time you visit. We worked hard to give the pub a fresh, modern and welcoming vibe.