Family firm fighting back with big plans

THE economic gloom is being dispelled by one of Bideford s best known business families, with major new investments in the area. Braddicks Leisure has taken over an historic Bideford town centre pub that has been closed for some time and is promising to t

THE economic gloom is being dispelled by one of Bideford's best known business families, with major new investments in the area.Braddicks Leisure has taken over an historic Bideford town centre pub that has been closed for some time and is promising to transform it into a "chic" new licensed premises.The family business also has plans to refurbish and re-name its longest established licensed premises, The Elizabethan Club in Westward Ho!The historic Bideford pub, the building dating back to the 17th century, has most recently been known as DJs Sports Bar.It is a listed building, so the exterior would remain largely the same, apart from new painting and decorating, said Rob.But London designers, responsible for some superb bars in the capital, had been brought in and it was planned to completely transform the interior before re-naming and re-opening the premises in the autumn."It will be chic and something completely different from our other Bideford premises Crabby Dicks and The Blacksmiths. It will be unlike anything currently around here," said Rob. "Some of the decor ideas have been sparked by visits to Las Vegas."The Elizabethan was 50 years old this year and they would commemorating this with a party in May for customers past and present to look back over the past 50 years and see the new designs for the next 50, he said.It was planned to follow this up in November with a major refurbishment and re-naming, which would bring the clifftop club's sea views even closer, with balconies and conservatories. Apart from the licensed premises, Braddicks Leisure would also be moving its offices to new premises in Chingswell Street, Bideford, and was currently engaged in providing new caravans and refurbishing chalets at its Westward Ho! holiday park, said Rob."We have work on maintenance and upgrading within the company for the next three years. I personally feel that when times are tough it is by offering the best facilities that you attract customers," he said."We are not slowing down at all. We will carry on investing despite the recession. I am a fifth generation member of the family business. My ancestors have been through recession before and have not let things slip behind."Two years ago Braddicks Leisure carried out a major refurbishment of the Waterfront pub on the seafront at Westward Ho! and it also owns the Fairway Buoy on Westward Ho! promenade.The business employs around 90 people, with this number rising to 140 in the busy summer months.


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