Pub owner marks 17 years in business after 'most stressful' time
- Credit: Bob Taylor
A man who marked 17 years since taking over a village pub admitted there were times where “I could have walked away” amid the fight against Covid-19.
Bob Taylor took over as owner of The Fox in Burwell on February 22, 2005 after deciding with wife Lou what industry they wanted to head into.
“I put it to my wife and we both agreed if we didn’t come up with an idea, we would go into hospitality,” he said.
Bob, from Haverhill, moved to Burwell with Lou, of Soham, and began trading as a Mexican steakhouse pub before stopping this service in 2019.
The couple were working towards a 10-year plan for the business when they had their first child, but when the Covid pandemic hit, their plans had to change.
“I started a 10-year plan as when we were in our early thirties and we wanted to give it a go,” said Bob.
“Then we wanted to do another 10 years maximum but Covid has changed our goals.”
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Bob was forced to close down the pub in March 2020 and for the next 12 months, has had to overcome multiple barriers.
The Fox, which currently has eight staff, no longer serves food but at one point, he was serving five-course tapas meals at weekends to keep business ticking.
But the impact of Covid both financially and mentally nearly took its toll on Bob.
“The reaction to the tapas meals was incredible,” he said.
“We smashed it, but it’s been the most stressful couple of years and there have been times where I could have walked away.
“I think if we only arrived two years ago, it would have been easier to leave.”
Bob and his family have grown a connection with the Burwell community since arriving in the village.
From engagements to christenings, many people have marked family events at The Fox, which has also been the springboard for peoples’ future careers.
Bob has got plans in place to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and other events this year, as he looks to rebuild after a difficult period.
“We were all in the same boat and some have suffered a lot worse than us,” he added.
“I love seeing people enjoy themselves; it’s nice to be planning and not feeling we will be shut.
“We will reassess in the next 10 years, but I’m not going anywhere yet.”