Emsworth entrepreneur opens new restaurant in Wickham - and coffee van

WHILE many in the hospitality industry have struggled to survive during the Covid-19 outbreak, one businessman has set up three businesses in Emsworth and Wickham.

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 7:07 pm

Ed Collison hoped to launch The Deck restaurant in The Chesapeake Mill in Wickham in March – but the nationwide lockdown pushed back the opening to earlier this month.

The businessman saw the disrupted hospitality market as ‘an opportunity’ to expand his idea, launching a mobile coffee van serving both drinks and food outside the mill on Friday July 17.

It follows the entrepreneur setting up a similar mobile coffee van near Emsworth Yacht Harbour, which is home to his first restaurant.

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The Deck On-The-Go coffee van in Wickham, which launched last week. Picture: Ed Collison

The 26-year-old said: ‘It’s been a learning curve, setting up three businesses during Covid-19.

‘I set up The Deck in Emsworth when I was 21, turning a cafe into a seafood restaurant.

‘But the new businesses were started completely from scratch.

‘With the mobile vans, I just saw the opportunity to grow because a lot of places have closed their doors.’

The Deck restaurant in Chesapeake Mill, Wickham, launched on July 4.

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Spending £10,000 on the Wickham restaurant, Ed has taken on six members of staff – but has faced cutting the venue’s capacity from 40 diners to 28 due social distancing guidelines.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, trade at the restaurant has been strong, according to the Emsworth resident.

He said: ‘Business has really started to pick up, surprising us.

‘I think people are desperate to get back out after the lockdown.

‘t’s been challenging to stick to the governments guidelines, because they have been quiet vague.

‘But the team has been amazing.’

Now the restaurant is looking to expand its balcony space and begin offering a collection and delivery service.

The space was previously the site of Offbeet Wickham, a vegan restaurant which closed its doors on Thursday, February 20, with the owner citing space constraints and a lack of parking for his decision to close the business.

Chesapeake Mill is a former flour mill that hosts 47 different traders and remains open for business.

The Deck in Emsworth currently offers a delivery service.

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