Saturday, 16 November 2013

Our 'journey' has started

Yes, we're off!!! The re-furbishment started yesterday with a pre-contract meeting at the Victoria Inn and as you can see I was in the company of a lot of very nice men!! We learnt yesterday (and met) the firm that are going to doing the works and bless me if it isn't a Portsmouth firm (remember I'm a Pompey girl!!) so that was a great start. Cummings & Pope are the contractors - people that our brewery St Austell have used many times and have a fantastic reputation for the work they do. Gareth the boss was there and we met Gary who's the foreman - they were really great and explained the how, why and what will be happening. Adam Luck and Jim Sloan from the brewery were there, along with Nigel from the maintenance dept. Ricci our very talented architect from Hollington Architects was there, as was Matt (who has a great eye for detail) down South company Trading Spaces, Sam who's project manager, a H & S chap, a structural engineer and  us!! Phew...........but a starting point of Coffee and cake was a good beginning. Although a pint of Tribute was suggested - but may have been just a little early.
We will be closing from Sunday 6th January 2014, and we hope to be re-opening a little over three weeks later on Wednesday 29th or Thursday 30th January!! The trouble is of course that we are a listed building and whilst it has had a whole load of knocking about over the years they will not know what is behind walls until they start knocking them down........... Gareth was really honest about this but still incredibly sure they will be able to do the works within about a three week timescale. Adam decided yesterday that it would be appropriate to do external decorations at the same time - so can I ask you all to start sending thoughts out to the universe for good weather in January!!
I hope you will be able to see the 'mood board' on the right of this post - and some of the colours and styles we will be using in this re-furb. Beautiful fabrics, muted colours, mirrored walls - sensational! We are absolutely and resolutely keeping to the fact we are a great traditional pub - there is going to be very little change in that - but we will be bigger, and I absolutely guarantee that the window tables with their magnificent views being planned for upstairs will be FOUGHT over!!!!
The meeting went on for hours yesterday and my head was spinning - now my head is spinning today for having over indulged in Champagne last night!! Hey ho!!!
On top of that I'm planning a Christmas Fayre at the Vic for Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd December along with Father Christmas........... I've received incredible support from local people looking to sell all sorts of goodies - so that's going to be very special. 
At the Devon Life awards last week, we were disappointed not to win (of course) but LOVED the evening - they threw a great bash! Paris last weekend was amazing and my SOH gave me a weekend to remain in my memory for ever - but phew! How expensive was some bits of it!! One board we saw said that an average day in Paris was about 120 euros. The weather was reasonable but Saturday afternoon was awful, absolutely fantastic meal Saturday evening and our Hotel was just round the corner from the Arc de Triumphe.
I've also this week been to a Taste of the West (we hold a Bronze award from them!) networking event at Burts crisps just outside of Plymouth. Great to see how they make the crisps and I was so impressed at how pure their product is - a distinct lack of additives, and also to see how great their staff are - and also when you see the name on the back of the person who fried it, that's who they REALLY are!! Came away with a few goodies as well as words of praise from the man who helped start up Burts about our lovely pub.    
Apart from a quick trip back to Portsmouth to see my family before Christmas for a day or 2 visit, we now have a fairly packed diary of meetings, fact finding visits to other excellent St Austell pubs to look at good practice etc, the Christmas Fayre to prepare for (300 gifts to wrap!!) menu's to think of for the re-opening of the pub etc etc etc............ phew!!!!!

I hope to keep you all informed of the re-furb as it goes on through our Facebook page

Our Twitter account and maybe YouTube as well.

Liz x

Monday, 4 November 2013

Head spin

Most of our great team after some Customer Experience training!
I am literally in a head spin at the moment - it is one of those times in the business when everything is coming together at once!!  So literally in a head spin that I managed to fall over my own feet in the middle of Fore Street and land face down prostrate in front of the Post Office!!! I swear not a drop from behind the bar had touched my lips........
Anyway, moving swiftly on  - we are certainly managing to pack quite a lot into our days.  Last week saw us going to a Marine salvage yard outside of Exeter - a place called Dunsford. Wow!! Who would have thought in the middle of this luscious green space their would be three hangers full of ships (and aircraft!) artifacts!!!! Do you know its about NINE weeks till the re-furb starts........???? Jeepers!!! Anyway - back to the matter in hand - the refurb!    Here are two types of tables we can use for the comfy seating areas that will be upstairs in the Vic; 1) Beautiful wooden chests (although there was one that was really old and a bit tatty that I really fell for!) and glass / riveted tables. Which one do you like best (Yes, YOU dear blog reader).
Alongside that we had a totally amazeballs Halloween.  Our resident Author Mark Fraser did a fantastic book reading of his new Halloween book. not once, but TWICE!! We were inundated with children of all ages.  We reckon somewhere between 120 to 140 - it was total and utter chaos!! But huge fun.......... Which meant of course that the pub was packed to the rafters, and even if I'd had a pub twice the size I think we would have still been full!  
Then we also as a team had a Customer Training session with our Management Coach Guy Arnold on Saturday at 9.a.m.  So hard to try and get everyone together, but we managed it all bar just 2!! We had lots of fresh cakes and pastries from our lovely French Baker Jerome, and all in all I think we took something away from the session to help us give you the customer a better experience when visiting us. That Saturday also saw the end of a very busy half term (which we were all very pleased about - the business, not the end!).
Then to top it all, we've decided to hold our own Christmas Fayre on Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd December upstairs at the Victoria Inn.  We'll have our very own Father Christmas and I've got some great local people coming to sell pictures, jewellery and 'Crafts'.............. It should be great fun!! More of that to come in the next couple of blogs!