Pub entrepreneur Steve Haslam talks frankly about his ‘traumatic’ few months and pleads for us all to support the rebirth of the Ely economy

Pub and restaurant entrenpeur Steve Haslam who has written an open letter to people in Ely urging th

Pub and restaurant entrenpeur Steve Haslam who has written an open letter to people in Ely urging them to support all local businesses as lockdown eases. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

On the eve of re-opening his riverside pubs, businessman Steve Haslam described the past few months as “traumatic”.

Mr Haslam, who owns the Cutter, RBK and Red Herring, posted an open letter to residents imploring them to support “the rebirth of the Ely economy”.

His family-owned chain of pubs and restaurants operate throughout East Anglia but his career in the trade began with the Cutter.

“Ely has been my second home for 15 years and we have invested millions into those businesses paid millions in taxes and indeed millions has filtered into the local community,” he says.

“This however is not about us but the wider family and this Is written for all those local family independent businesses waiting, hoping and praying that your support will keep Ely safe well and indeed independent for years to come.”

Mr Haslam said that “undoubtedly this has been a passage in time that many of us will wish to forget as the world starts to embrace the new normal”.

As a local independent business, the financial impact “and indeed the personal impact of this period of time has been traumatic to say the least”.

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He explained that the ‘open letter’ was partly in response to residents who felt that by his opening RBK as a takeaway over recent weeks had in some way caused concerns within the area.

At all times he had acted within the law but a small minority of visitors and not necessarily his customers had cast a grey cloud for the many.

“For anyone who was affected in any way I truly apologise” he said. “Like many other businesses, pubs and restaurants we are re-opening into a new way of operating.

“Your understanding but more so your support to these local independent businesses is vital.,” he says.

“Some may never re open and are lost forever, many will be lost over the coming months, so I plead and pray that each and every one of you will try to support those independent businesses that have created this wonderful city we all love”.

Mr Haslam added: “There is trepidation from each and every one of us and I’m sure similar feelings will be running through many residents as the economy grinds back into life.”

FOOTNOTE: See this week’s Ely Standard for the full letter.