‘Penniless’ couple called ‘crazy’ for taking over pub amazed at its success

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A married couple who decided to run a pub for the first time in the height of the pandemic, have found success despite being called "crazy" for taking on the business venture.

Charlie, 58, and Kira, 38, took over Pack Horse in Briggate, Leeds after they both took a hit from working in the entertainment industry during lockdown.

The couple, who have been together for 21-years, said they were forced to find a way to pay their mortgage after the pandemic made them “ penniless ”.

But the pair were hit with a number of obstacles after obtaining the pub in October 2020, and had to shut down after their first five days and then ceased operations for six months, reports Leeds Live.

Charlie said: “People said we were crazy but we saw it as something we wanted to do. This opportunity came up and I just knew it was the right thing for us.

“I just kept saying to them, it [the pub industry] can’t go anywhere worse than it is now. It can only go higher as we were at rock-bottom as it was.”

Kira, from Halifax, previously earned her living as singer and DJ, performing at various events. Charlie, who is from Leeds and is a mother-of-one, worked with her as a sound technician and also in jobs at bars around the city.

Charlie said: “We didn’t know whether the entertainment industry would come back strong or be pushed to the very limits of not being up and running again when the pubs opened.

“It was a very, very scary period. We had a mortgage, we had bills, we had everything and we were self-employed. It was a very scary time. We went from having a nice standard of living to being penniless.”

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The couple had a good feeling about the Pack Horse as soon as they first visited, marvelling at the historic beams holding up the 1615 building.

Ever since getting back to business, the pub has gone from “strength to strength to strength” after a lot of hard work.

The LGBT couple said they have been embraced by the community and have been truly "humbled" by their customers.

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“People these days are so much more open-minded, honestly I can’t thank them enough for the way they’ve opened their arms around us to have an inclusive pub," said Charlie.

Charlie and Kira believe it's important to get involved with the community and have held a string of charitable events including for Remembrance Day and Children in Need.

They believe part of their job includes providing a listening ear to their customers.

Charlie added: “If they’ve had a bad day, they want someone to talk to if they don’t have anybody in their life. I just listen to them and sometimes give advice as we’re there for them."

  • Pubs
  • Tesco
  • Wetherspoons

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