Fox and Hounds pub in Hunsdon makes its pop-up shop selling seasonal produce, fresh bread and homemade ready meals a permanent feature
The success of a pop-up shop at a village gastro-pub during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic has led to it becoming a long-term feature.
The Fox Shop, as it has become known, outdoors at the Fox and Hounds in Hunsdon proved such a hit with villagers when it was set up last year that publicans James and Bianca Rix decided to make it permanent.
The couple sought a grant from Pub is the Hub – a non-profit organisation which supports businesses wishing to diversify for the benefit of the community – to create a designated shop area inside.
Careful not to affect the existing village store, it offers different items such as home-made ready meals, meat, fresh bread, pies and pastries, seasonal produce, cheese, desserts and flowers.
Bianca said: "It started off with a few items to help out in the first lockdown but grew as the locals loved it. When we reopened they asked us to continue with the service and we decided to take out a designated area inside the pub.
"It's also helped to fight social isolation as people were able to chat at a social distance when coming to the shop."
The publicans came to the aid of vulnerable and shielding locals during lockdown by donating free meals which were distributed by volunteers.
Jeremy English, regional advisor for Pub is the Hub, said: "The pub shop has become a crucial amenity for those living locally and has helped to keep the locals connected."
The Fox Shop is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-2pm, and during takeaway times on Friday and Saturday evenings, 5.30pm-7.30pm.