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Enterprising pub near Stafford brings villagers closer together - through shopping

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: July 11, 2014

Lesley Ashton, Deborah Wilson and Nadine Webb

Lesley Ashton, Deborah Wilson and Nadine Webb

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COMMUNITY spirit is on the shopping list for a village near Stafford which has welcomed its first store for more than a decade.

When Deborah Wilson moved to Norton Bridge 12 years ago the village’s last shop had already been shut for several years.

But six weeks ago she rang in the changes by opening a new store – in the village pub.

A pool room has been converted into a general store, stocking locally produced eggs, meat, jams and honey as well as essentials such as fruit and vegetables, bread and milk.

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Mrs Wilson, who turns 37 this weekend, is also doing a roaring trade in sandwiches for both villagers and workers currently based in the area for the nearby railway improvement project.

The mother of two said: “The pub’s landlady (Nadine Webb) asked what I thought of opening a shop in the pub. I live round the corner, and I was working in Eccleshall.

“We had nothing in the village apart from the pub. It’s been a real eye-opener – I’ve met people I never even knew lived here and people always have a story to tell.

“We’ve also had a few elderly people who don’t get out much, and rely on family to pick things up for them at supermarkets. Now it’s a walk in here to socialise.”

The pub has also benefited from the shop’s custom, Mrs Wilson said, and the enterprising landlady and shopkeeper are joined by a third businesswoman – chef Lesley Ashton.

She has launched a breakfast menu at the pub, serving up meat baps and full English breakfasts on weekdays from 9.45am to 11.30am to eat in or take away, with a delivery service also available.

Opening times for the shop are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays 8am to 5pm, Wednesdays 8am to 1pm, Fridays 8am to 6pm and Saturdays 8.30am to 12.30pm.

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