A Cottingham landlord who put out a heartfelt plea on social to use his pub or lose it has been amazed by the positive response.
Rob Wainde, manager of the Spread Eagle in High Street, had reached the point where he estimated he could only carry on for another three months.
The 43-year-old had taken over behind the bar after the pub had lain mothballed for two years.
Using his 20 years of experience in the business running clubs in Lutterworth, Thrapston and Stanion, he had decided to take on the pub as a new challenge.
But trying to get a pub that had been closed for so long back up and running has been a struggle, so on Thursday last week, Rob asked for Corby’s help.
He wrote: “I need your help, that’s something that doesn’t come out of my mouth very often, maybe because of pride or stubbornness or a bit of both but I’m at the point where I’m going to have to put those both aside and finally ask for help.
“Many of you will only know of me from Facebook, many of you won’t have met me and some won’t know me at all but I still need everyone’s help.
“I took over managing the Spread Eagle and trust me worked hard to get it back off the ground after two years of being shut.
“I’ve made mistakes, unfortunately that’s life, but I can say I’ve learned by them and it’s only driven me to try harder.
“The pub game isn’t what it once was and it’s a difficult game to be in, I was fully aware of this beforehand and it didn’t deter me one bit.
“The reviews we’ve received since I took over have been great but if things don’t improve we will be forced to close the doors and that would be a great loss.
“It would break my heart the amount of time, love and effort I have put into the place not to mention the amazing local community.
“This is why I’m asking for your help – we are only five minutes from Corby town centre.
“All I’m asking is for you to come visit, try us.”
He finished: “I know things are hard for everyone at the moment and I know it’s a lot to ask of you but I really do need your help to keep the place open because if it shuts it will never be a pub ever again. Thank you in advance Rob.”
After Rob had posted his plea online at 6.30pm, he carried on with his usual Thursday night preparing for the pub’s weekly quiz night.
As he was serving drinks and food he could hear his phone notifications going off. When he checked his post had been shared more than 600 times in two hours.
Rob said: “It went mental – viral. My post had been read by 40,000 people.
“That night we had three extra quiz teams turn up. By the Friday night the restaurant was fully booked and I did 60 covers on the Saturday with another 57 on the Sunday.
“I had so many people phoning I couldn’t fit them all in. I had to turn away 25 people on the phone and 15 people in person - luckily they booked for another weekend.”
Now Rob is so busy he is taking on more bar and waiting staff to cope with the demand. He is also hoping to open for longer and to extend his food offer.
This Thursday he is expecting more than 100 people for the quiz night.
Rob added: “I couldn’t believe the response I got. The people of Corby and surrounding area said they would come, and they came - in droves.
“Overnight it’s turned the business around. I would have had to close in less than three months because it was costing us far more to keep open.
“I feel passionate about the pub and I want to improve and make it a success.
“I know in my heart of hearts if I’d have been in any other part of the country I wouldn’t have had nearly half the response I’ve been given by the fantastic people of Corby and surrounding area.
“I’m not originally from the area but I know there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
“You ask for help in Corby and they give it. I’m so very proud of the community and the support I’ve been shown.”
The Spread Eagle, Cottingham, is open Tuesday to Thursday from 5pm; all day Friday to Sunday. Food is served Thursday to Sunday.
On Thursday there is a regular quiz night with a cash prize with free live music every Saturday night.
To book a table call 01536 772610.