AN Aberdeen lessee said he’s reaping the benefits of positioning his pub at the heart of the community.
Martin Young credits the “significant increase” in business at the Mains of Scotstown Inn, in Bridge of Don, with the numerous ways he and his staff engage with local residents.
It’s an approach he has fostered at the pub since he took on the lease from Punch Taverns in 2006.
Turnover is said to have rocketed from £300,000 to £1.4 million in Martin’s first year of trading on the back of a £300,000 revamp and moves to establish it as a community hub.
Six years on and the strategy is the same at the Jesmond Square outlet.
We are committed to bringing the community together. They like what we do and, in turn, they support us.
Most recently, Martin and his chefs visited two local schools on Shrove Tuesday (February 21) and helped the students make pancakes, which were then delivered to people living in local sheltered housing and homes for the elderly.
It follows a similar venture last year, after which takings at the pub were “noticeably higher”.
Martin and his team have worked with local schools on a number of other initiatives, including teaching pupils about healthy food, demonstrating fish and butchery skills, and organising a cookery competition where the team with the best healthy food menu got the chance to recreate the dishes in the pub’s kitchen.
The pub also sponsors a community grant scheme, which locals can use to provide, repair or maintain public facilities, such as playground equipment. The grants can take the form of either supplying all the necessary tools, materials and advice or giving cash up to the value of £500.
“The only condition is that they must do the work themselves,” said Martin, who has gone on to take two further Punch leaseholds in the Aberdeen area, The White Cockade in January 2007 and the Parkway Inn in September 2008.
Other community events supported by the Mains of Scotstown Inn include a festival to commemorate the centenary of the death of merchant Thomas Blake Glover, who lived in Bridge of Don before emigrating to Japan in 1859 and founding two companies which later became Mitsubishi and the Kirin Brewery; the festival is said to have attracted 11,500 visitors.
A free fireworks display is planned for later this year.
Martin said the initiatives help bring the community together and raise the profile of the pub.
“We are very committed to building the community by bringing together young and old, mums and dads, and families to join in the fun,” he said.
“They like what we do and, in turn, they support us.
“We have a very good relationship with Punch and, as with every business relationship, there has always got to be a bit of give and take to succeed.”
Gavin Stevenson, Punch’s business relationship manager, said Martin and his staff are a “shining example of what can be achieved by embracing the community”.
“They show that the future of community-based pubs is bright when run by people with vision who are willing to take an active role in society and lead by example,” he said.
“Martin has done an outstanding job in reaching out to segments of the community and providing services not traditionally associated with pubs, and has built a very successful and highly regarded award-winning business as a result.
“We’re absolutely delighted with all he has achieved so far and, knowing how innovative Martin is, no doubt the best is yet to come.”