We’re open for business, say struggling traders

BUSINESS AS USUAL Martin and Debbie Clark, who run Lotts General Store and Tearoom in Hambledon
BUSINESS AS USUAL Martin and Debbie Clark, who run Lotts General Store and Tearoom in Hambledon
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IT’S business as usual.

That’s the message from traders in Hambledon as they continue to open their doors through the floods.

OPEN Steve Guermonprez, landlord of The Vine

OPEN Steve Guermonprez, landlord of The Vine

The Vine pub, in West Street, has seen a major drop in punters because 70 per cent of their food trade comes from outside the village.

There were 12 days when no outside customers were allowed through the manned barriers into the village.

But, after landlord Steve Guermonprez told the authorities that his business could be in jeopardy, the road is now open for drivers wanting to visit the award-winning pub, which has built its reputation on home-cooked food.

Drivers are able to park in the car park at the village hall.

People can also walk in.

Mr Guermonprez said: ‘Hambledon is open for business and The Vine is open for business.

‘We have a hardcore of locals who have kept us going, but no matter how many of them come in, it doesn’t compensate for the dozens of people who haven’t been coming.’

It’s a similar story at Lotts General Store and Tearoom, whose quaint cafe has been deserted.

The business has lost the weekend trade of cyclists and walkers, as well as the passing trade from Waterlooville.

The situation is so dire that proprietors Martin and Debbie Clark have not been able to afford to buy tobacco.

‘It’s had a real knock-on effect,’ said Mr Clark.

The couple say they are happy to provide deliveries for anyone in the village.