Garry Carter and his wife Pam run the Dawnay Arms in Shipton-by-Beningbrough and will reach their decade of success on Friday 9th November.
The husband and wife team didn’t have any experience of running of a pub and gave up their full time jobs back in 2002 to give it a go. When they got the opportunity of managing the Dawnay Arms, there was no going back. “I used to be a retail manager for Sports Direct,” said Garry. “Pam was a mortgage adviser but running our own pub was something we always wanted to do. When the tenancy came up for the Dawnay Arms it was an easy decision for us – although we’d never pulled a pint before in our lives.”
Even in the current financial climate where around 50 pubs are closing each week in the UK, the Dawnay Arms has gone from strength to strength under the leadership of Garry and Pam. During their 10 years, the couple have guided the pub through two major refurbishments to maintain its high standards, with the latest £40,000 investment only completed in the summer this year.
Said Garry: “It’s important that we continue to reinvest in the pub. The first refurbishment cost over £100,000 to make the lounge area more open plan and the more recent one was more about modernising the décor and lighting to ensure the pub retains its homely feel.
“One of the telling points of success for me has been keeping our regulars happy and we are fortunate enough to have a great crowd here in Shipton that have supported us right from day one. Mind you, when I pulled my first pint for one of the regulars all those years ago he just looked at me and I thought I’d never see him again.”
Over the decade, the pub hasn’t just developed its decoration; it now offers a wide range of local guest beers, an excellent food menu which is all made from local produce and a take away menu offering fish and chips, burgers and other selected meals.
“Keeping things local has been really important for us,” said Garry. “As we’ve developed the pub with our new offerings the local theme has remained strong throughout everything we do.”
The couple also use the pub to support local charities and, over their 10 year reign, have created special events that have raised thousands of pounds.
Pam said: “Our annual party in the carpark has been our biggest successes. Over the years we have raised money for the local air ambulance, British Heart Foundation and our local playgroup and playground redevelopments.”
Today, the Dawnay Arms boasts an excellent reputation both for the village locals and for passing trade. Its food is high quality, it has a good selection of local ales and has weekly entertainment including the renowned Wednesday pub quiz.
Asked if they were looking forward to the next 10 years, Pam said: “We did have a 10 year plan but we’ve reached that milestone now so we need to decide our next plan but we’ll certainly be here for a few more years yet.
“We couldn’t have achieved this 10 year success on our own. We have an excellent team behind us and we are lucky enough to have great local customers who support us on just about everything we do.”