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Page last updated at 07:49 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 08:49 UK
The High Street

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23 OCT 2009
The Crown pub
Address: 73-75, Shirley High St
Years on the street: 166
Number of staff: Eight
Manager: Rob Gardener
Company service: One month

The Crown has a new landlord, Rob Gardener, who says: "We've only been here for a few weeks so I can't judge what it was like before that, but business seems OK to me. We have a Carlsberg special offer of £1.99 and it flies out."

His first impression of Shirley is that its pubs have a very regular crowd.

"It's a big village, which is nice in many ways because everyone knows everyone else."

17 OCT 2008

The financial turmoil seems to have by-passed Kerry Hewitt.

The landlady has just had what she describes as a "stonking week", one of her most profitable in more than a month. And it seems talk of crashing markets has not been dominating the pub banter.

"There has been some talk about what's been reported on the TV and in the press. But the customers are quite traditional, they don't really talk about things like income, bills and money worries."

But her brewers, Greene King, have replaced their traditional draymen with an outside delivery firm.

Kerry Hewitt (right) pub landlady
Landlady Kerry (on the right) reports brisk business

"They have contracted it out because of costs," she says. "It means I no longer have my dray-boys, who came every week for four years. They'd chat and have a bacon sandwich.

"Greene and King are one of the biggest brewers in the country, if they're feeling the pinch, that's a change we notice."

Ms Hewitt says she has noticed other pubs on the High Street launching happy hours and meal deals to entice new customers, although she thinks "they attract the wrong kind".

9 OCT 2008

Ms Hewitt, who has been landlady of The Crown for four years, says she is not panicking at the moment, as her business has "very strong" foundations.

"We're quite lucky as we have a strong customer base of regulars who come in at specific times and drink."

Ms Hewitt says she has seen a "minor drop" in sales in the past few weeks, but overall trade is slightly higher than this time last year.

"We've seen a drop in trade with food sales. People come in and drink, they can afford beer, but can't spoil themselves by having lunch," she added.

Ms Hewitt says there are a lot of pubs in the area, so she ensures people choose The Crown by employing good staff, providing entertainment, and ensuring it is always clean and trouble-free.

"The price of beer isn't really an influencing factor for a lot of customers. What sells beer isn't the price but the pub," she says.

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