you may have heard from social media, Twitter et al, that Stancill Brewery, as well as taking on the Albion on London Road, are also taking over the lease of the Closed Shop, Commonside. This may at face value sound great. Its not if you are Chris Rogers, or the community who backed him to continue running the pub when Reet Ale Pubs went bust.
I saw Chris on Sunday, and found out his likely last day of trading would be Wednesday, assuming he didn't run out of stock. He had been given 10 days notice to leave, and thus needed to find accommodation for him and his family, and new employment in that short space of time. He had been asking Stancil for confirmation of whether or not he would be able to stay running the Closed Shop for some time. He hadn't been given a definitive answer until he received his notice to quit some time last week. Its not difficult to imagine why Chris might be a little miffed. When questioned on Twitter about this, Stancill I understand blamed Punch for keeping Chris and his staff in the dark (all the staff lost their jobs as well as far as I know).
Brewing and communication are very different skills I will grant you. However, finding new accommodation and employment in the timescale given, when you have a large family, is very very difficult indeed. Even if we take Stancill's explanation at face value, that simply means there are two organisations letting down the leaseholders, staff and community. I understand Chris already has plans, to open a micropub nearby, but as any of Sheffield's existing micropubs will confirm, permission to trade as and granting of licences for takes a long time. And it still doesn't sort out the accommodation issue, which is surely most pressing.
Concerns about staff and leaseholder welfare aside, I don't understand the decision from a marketing and potential financial benefit point of view. All the regulars I know are horrified by the behaviour of Stancill and or Punch, so am not sure where the core of visitors is going to come from. The community forum or organisation was set up by Chris to keep the pub open, and 24 investors paid cash to buy the Tenancy at Will from punch. In all there are 200 members on the group's mailing list, and am guessing most of them live nearby. I can't see that same community wanting to give Stancil any of their money after what has happened.
I realise the pub is to reopen mid August. So there will be an influx of students soon after, whom I am guessing Stancill are hoping won't know or if so won't care about this situation. If that was the case, that is doing students a disservice. If nothing else in Sheffield, pub wise, look at the reaction to the University Arms being threatened with demolition. ( although I realise that there were plenty of non students who did much of the ACV legwork)
The other issue is the staff that Stancill are to bring in from their other pubs. They are being given the opportunity to run a pub where they will have had no input into the treatment of Chris and his staff. I wish them as individuals every success, but have no intention of drinking any Stancil product in the future. I think the Horse and Jockey had a couple of guests on when they first reopened, but I didn't see any when I returned. So am not sure how I will be able to support another member of the licensed trade doing well in the Closed Shop.
Best of luck to Chris and his staff in finding new roles, and accommodation. As per information on Facebook the Closed Shop has, once again, become closed. Lets hope something good will come from this situation, in whatever way that might be.