The Grapes pub in Appleby is bucking the trend in the COVID-hit hospitality industry by opening its doors under new ownership.
Despite the industry continuing to be badly hit by the pandemic and facing ever-changing restrictions, three Eden women have chosen to forge forward with their plans for a family business.
The new landlady of the Grapes — on the Sands — is 57-year-old Donna Beard of Appleby.
She is joined by her daughters Lauren Budd, aged 37 of Appleby, and 35-year-old Carly Budd who lives at Kirkby Thore.
Although not taking a permanent role, Lauren’s 17-year-old son Callum is also working at the pub — making it three generations working alongside each other in the new venture.
Originally from Wiltshire, Donna moved to Cumbria in 2013 when she started working at Penrith’s Center Parcs holiday village — her two daughters and their families following to move to the Eden Valley shortly after.
Throughout her career Donna has worked in catering and has had many management roles in restaurants and cafes in the past.
For years she has admired the Grapes pub and approached the owners to take on the tenancy after it closed down having recently been run as a steakhouse.
Lauren said: “Mum has always liked the Grapes and always wanted to have her own catering business.
“She just wanted something that was traditional so all the food we serve is traditional pub grub, simple, homemade and locally sourced.”
Fans of the annual Appleby Horse Fair, the family have been keen to draw on The Grapes’ history as a popular drinking-spot during the fair and have decorated it with a nod towards a traditional gypsy pub.
Photos of the fair and Romany caravans adorn the walls while horse lead ropes have been used as curtain ties.
Addressing the move to open in the face of the COVID pandemic Lauren said: “It’s been steady since we opened and the Sunday roasts are proving popular.
“It is very difficult in the current time but we were looking into it before COVID happened and when the hospitality industry shut down we were looking at it and we thought we could still make it work.
“We haven’t had all the changes a lot of other business have gone through with the Government, we have come in knowing the rules and following them.”
This includes social distancing, hand sanitisers on entry and a meet and greet set-up to follow test and trace requirements.
The Grapes will be open winter hours, Wednesday to Sunday weekly.