A community has banded together to help a business duo with their new hospitality venture – after bad weather ruined a new outdoor area they had invested in. Emma Hall, and her business partner Ryan Yates, took on The Star at Cotton last March – just eight days before the first national Covid-19 lockdown.
A community has banded together to help a business duo with their new hospitality venture – after bad weather ruined a new outdoor area they had invested in.
Emma Hall, and her business partner Ryan Yates, took on The Star at Cotton last March – just eight days before the first national Covid-19 lockdown.
Emma told the Times & Echo: “We opened back up in July and then had to shut again.
“The courtyard area had been just wasted space, being used as a dumping ground really.
“So we built a 14 metre pergola, re-slabbed the area and bought new furniture. We went for nice indoor furniture to make it nice for our customers.”
However, bad weather has caused damage to the pergola on a number of occasions resulting in there being roof replacements and also the purchase of new furniture again after the same bad weather damaged the initial furniture purchases.
Emma said: “It cost us £600 each time to have the roof fixed, and then the final time, we have gone for a reinforced roof with permanent corrugated material and purchased new furniture, at a cost of £1,000 – so hopefully this is third time lucky.”
Emma said that she and Ryan have been very grateful for all the support they have been getting from the community, including £410 being raised through an online fundraising page.
A total of £430 was raised, meaning after charges from the fundraising page, £410 was given to Emma and Ryan.
Nicola Stanley, whose daughter is an apprentice at The Star, organised the online fundraiser.
She told the Times & Echo: “I decided to raise money for the Star at Cotton because I felt like they deserved a bit of help to improve their outside dining area, which they had already replaced twice due to it being battered by the horrendous weather.
“Emma and Ryan opened The Star a couple of weeks before the first lockdown, where they took on my daughter Ellie as an apprentice.
“So as you can imagine trying to sustain a brand new hospitality business when you can’t actually open has sent them many challenges, which the team have battled through providing takeaway meals, barbecues and themed takeaway evenings to keep people upbeat during lockdown.”
Nicola added: “They have managed to secure a fantastic supportive customer base, so I just thought everyone would lend a hand to ease a bit of the financial burden that the bad weather storm left them with.”
Emma added: “It was very good of Nicola to do the fundraiser.
“We have had a lot of support and offers of help. There’s been a nice community feel about it.
“We also had some flowers sent to us, we have had so much support.”
When they took on The Star, the venue employed just six people, but now Emma and Ryan employ 17 people at the site. They re-opened their doors on Monday, alike to the rest of the hospitality businesses across the country.
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