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Wrey Arms pub in Barnstaple shuts due to 'lack of trade'

By NDJNicole  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

The Wrey Arms in Sticklepath in Barnstaple has closed.

Comments (6)

A LANDLORD has decided to shut his Barnstaple pub because of a lack of trade.

Julian Turner took the decision to close the Wrey Arms in Sticklepath yesterday.

Mr Turner, who also runs the Aggi in Braunton, took over the premises a year ago and had hoped to turn it into a thriving business.

He said: "Right across North Devon January has been pretty dire. We were losing money, so unfortunately I had to close the site.

"I spoke to fellow landlords who have really felt the pinch this winter. Entertainment and luxuries like going out for a beer is the last thing on people's minds at the moment.

"I still hold the tenancy agreement but I had to close as it was running at a loss. Hopefully someone will take it on but the pub might be close for a period of some time. We have a good, busy pub at the Aggi. I will concentrate on keeping this going."

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  • DaveButterton  |  February 08 2013, 4:52PM

    Neil, Apologies for my first comment, it was rude, however I maintain that your comment was sanctimonious. There is probably far more to this story than meets the eye and I do not think your 'business case' takes account for this. The Wrey Arms is owned by Enterprise Inns which are notoriously bad owners of many pubs in this area. Many of the pubs (mostly the struggling, unclean ones) in Ilfracombe are owned by the same company and the leases they offer are so awful that it is virtually impossible for a landlord to make a viable business of the place. In fact if against the odds they do start to make the business profitable then the rent goes up and the tenants are back at square one! I think it is these pub chains to blame rather than the landlords/tenants. Furthermore you state that you have not been to the pub for three years, do you think it is fair for you to disparage the current tenants who only took over in January 2011? Your opinions are based on an image you had of the place at a funeral three years ago and are no longer valid. Anyway, once again I am sorry for calling you a tit. Cheers.

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  • neilslade  |  February 07 2013, 6:48AM

    Exactly right Nellie. The last time I had a drink in the Wrey Arms was 3 years ago after my dad's funeral. And I was not impressed with the cleanliness of the bar. The location of the Wrey Arms was never their problem. In fact the oposite is true. The location would give a good and well run pub on that site a lot of trade. I understand why a very young person would prefer to go into Barnstaple town centre, but a clean and pleasant pub with good staff, good beer and good prices would have done well. There are plenty of people in Roundswell who would not walk into town if there was a good pub nearer than that. And as you say, very near the college. But my advice is try to leave the drink until the evening. Lunch time alcohol does not help with afternoon studying, lectures, tutorials or whatever.

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  • Nellie53  |  February 06 2013, 8:48PM

    Nearest pub to Petroc and the Crematorium...should have been a winner

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  • neilslade  |  February 06 2013, 8:17AM

    People who think that statements of good business practice is the words of a sanctimonious tit are in my experience often the sort of people who believe the world owes them a good living without the inconvenience of them having to work hard for that. Perhaps Dave Butterton believes that good business practice is to serve beer that is mediocre because the cleaning of the pipes is not as regular and thorough as it should be, to serve that beer in a dirty and badly maintained pub and to charge high prices for that beer? The last time I went to The Wrey Arms I noticed that every electric light that can contain debris had at least 3 dead flies in it. The standard of cleaing and general house keeping left a lot to be desired. With any pub the drinks and food is only a small part of what makes a good pub. In the village pub 28 miles from London I went to for 5 years before I moved to Devon the landlord knew the name and preferred drink of every regular customer. The pub was kept immaculately clean. When regular customers ordered food the landlord knew what the customer preferred, he knew if people liked mustard, pickle, or nothing at all on a ham sandwich. He knew if regular customers like a steak to be rare, medium or well cooked. The pub arranged many social and charity events, not for the customers but for the entire community including activities in the village hall for children. The village pub I went to until 25 years ago was a more important part of the community than the church was. Events in the pub, the village hall and on the village recreation ground that raised money for every pensioner in the village to receive a good food parcel a few days before Christmas day every year were all arranged and planned in the pub and so were events for helping sick children and providing social events for children. This was a good pub that could have succeeded anywhere with at least 100 potential customers within a 2 mile walk. Dave Butterton, I have made my critisisms of the Wrey Arms, have given my reasons for these critisms and have given a lot of information on what I think is good business practice that would result in a good and successful pub. And so far I have 12 green arrows pointing up and the only critism of my comment has been your 2 words "sanctimonious tit" Obviously you must think that you are wiser than me and have better ideas than me. Dave Buttetrton, why not share your ideas about how to run a successful pub with us and then everyone can see whether or not you have better ideas than me? Just saying sanctimonious git without trying to present evidence for that or attemping to suggest better thoughts and ideas than mine only makes people think you are a rude idiot. I still say that The Wrey Arms failed because they did not find the correct balance between the quality of their products and services and the prices they charged, and because I think they did not try hard enough for justifying the prices they charged.....lights full of dead flies and not keeping the pub clean and pleasant enough for example. Dave Butterton, I look forward to reading an inteligent comment from you about why The Wrey Arms has gone out of business. And if you think it is impossible for a pub to succeed and do well if it is where the Wrey Arms is then I would like to hear why you think that a pub with so many people living less than 1 mile away cannot succeed.

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  • DaveButterton  |  February 05 2013, 9:33PM

    Sanctimonious tit.

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  • neilslade  |  February 05 2013, 2:55PM

    If their prices had been more reasonable they might have had enough customers for making a good living. In general if a business does not have enough customers then either the product and / or service is not good enough or the price is too high. A successful business depends upon finding the correct balance between the availability of the products or services offered, demand for those products or services, the quality of those products or services and the price of those products or services. I have been a customer at the Wrey Arms a few times, but not very often because the prices they charged were too high for their products and the quality of their service. Something I have seen and noticed very often with businesses in North Devon is that when businesses are in trouble they try to solve their problems by raising their prices but doiung little or nothing else differently or better. Often this is counter productive because the loses resulting from losing customers not willing to pay the higher prices out weighs the extra money made from sales to the customers who are not lost. The location of The Wrey Arms has nothing to do with too few customers. In fact many of us over 40 years of age prefer out of town pubs with a mixture of customers to the in town pubs that tend to cater mainly for the late teens to late twenties age group. I am sure that a Wetherspoons pub similar to The Panniers would do well on the site where The Wrey Arms is. I grew up in High Wycombe about 128 Miles from the centre of London and I see a massive cultural and social difference between North Devon and greater London and the home counties. People of North Devon, stop blaming the economy, the government and the financial crisis caused by the banks for your own failings. The key to success in bussiness is quality products, quality service and sensible, realistic prices. Raising prices when you are not getting enough income to survive will not solve problems if the products and / or service is not good enough. And often in this area many bussinesses with good products and good service fail because people are too greedy and set their prices too high instead of setting sensible prices and having more custom because of the lower and more sensible price. A Wetherspoons pub where the Wrey Arms is would not have failed and would be doing good trade now and making a good profit. And the prices would be lower than The Wrey Arms used to charge. The greedy and unrealistic people of North Devon who expect to make a living charging high prices, often for poor quality products and poor standards of service need to learn how to provide the customer with good products, good service and good value for money. Then more businesses will succeed, make a good profit and provide the customers with what they want at a sensible price. A wetherspoons pub would not have failed where The Wrey Arms is. So why did The Wrey Arms fail, and why do Wetherspoons pubs make good profits even though they charge lower prices than The Wrey Arms did? It is not rocket science. Customers want quality products, quality service and sensible prices. The Wrey arms did no provide all 3 of those things. There are a lot of people living in Roundswell and The Wrey Arms was the only pub within a reasonably short walking distance for those people. The Wrey arms could and should have been a very successful pub still doing good business today and should have been a social focal point for many people in Roundswell. The Wrey Arms failed because the correct balance between quality, service and price was never found. The Wetherspoons pubs find this balance and I would love to see a similar pub a mile or 2 out of town that caters for families and individuals ranging from 18 to 108 instead of having to use a pub in Barnstaple town centre that caters mainly for the 18 to 30 year olds.

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