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Archie & Maureen are celebrating their one year anniversary at The Plough in Clacton-on-Sea. Having run pubs for the last fifteen years, each one being taken on when run down and failing, Archie thinks this might be their last! I caught up with them during the brief recent heatwave and asked, why?

Archie, you say this is going to be your last pub – why?

“Well you might not have noticed, but we’re not spring chickens any more, taking on a failing pub that’s in a bit of a state and building up a business is a lot of work! We’ve done it with the last three!”

So, what’s the plan then?

“I think we’ll stick with this one. We moved here originally because we’ve family here, we like the area and we wanted to be near the coast. Also, our relationship with Punch is great; we’ve had pubs with three different pub companies and they are by far the best, so we don’t want to lose that relationship.”

What attracts you to run down pubs – they seem to be your speciality?

“We love the feeling of satisfaction of finding a very run down pub and cleaning it up, building up a community and providing a warm welcome, good beer and a clean pub.”

You refer to The Plough as a “community pub”; why?

“Providing a central point for the local community is very important to us; we run loads of events for the locals and for charity. These included:

  • Supporting a customer who ran the marathon for the local Women’s Refuge
  • A charity quiz with a raffle on the night
  • A member of our staff works for Assistance Dogs charity so we had a night where they bought down the dogs and ran a raffle that local businesses donated prizes for
  • For the Alzheimer’s & Dementia society we hosted “The Voice”- a vocal competition ran over an 8-week period and got the council and local businesses to judge
  • A meat raffle on a Sunday which the locals LOVE
  • We run a bingo lottery at £1 per week- we’ve got 80 people participating, so it’s a great prize (winner takes all) each time
  • We have a DJ who plays 50’s & 60’s vinyl on a Saturday night and mixes that in with Karaoke
  • We run a themed night once a month and the customers come in fancy dress for whatever that theme is
  • There was a barn dance where we removed all the furniture and filled the place with hay bales
  • St Georges Day, we organised for ex-military personnel to come in and had displays of war memorabilia, we had a WW2 Jeep outside, and everyone wore military uniform”

Wow! Who comes up with all these ideas?

“Just us really, customers make the odd suggestion but really we just want to provide great entertainment and keep them happy and coming back!”

Is that your USP then events and community/charity work?

“Yes, that and sport, they are our primary focuses.”

Archie and Maureen run a pub that is truly at the heart of the community in Clacton-on-Sea, and just as a footnote, have a look at the pictures, they have a stunning garden that is (so Archie says!), all Maureen’s hard work. It’s a real talking point talking point and adds to the feeling of community spirit- many of the locals have contributed to it.

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