Saturday, 6 February 2010

The avoidable downfall of a town centre pub

Running a pub must be a right laugh, eh? You're the life and soul of the party, you're at the heart of the action, you're the hub of everyone's social life.

Well, no. Having known several people who have managed (and continue to manage) pubs, it's actually a hard job. You start several hours before the pub is even open, scrubbing away at the detretrius of the previous night, and then you're onto way past midnight. Granted, it looks like fun, but being a bar manager is not for me. Especially when you consider over 50 pubs a week are closing down in the UK. Added to that, the life behind the bar contains risks like fights breaking out, mardy customers and increased supermarket competition. I'm grateful for sitting at a desk 40 hours a week, and I take my hat off to long-suffering bar staff.

Which makes it a bit tricky to tackle the story of how a Wellingborough town centre pub threw away every opportunity that appears like commercial suicide. I really do not want to appear like I'm mocking their failure, yet I feel compelled to detail the catastrosphic details of this pub's brief biography. The irony is that I never entered the place during its brief spell of activity, yet what I write here can be confirmed by friends, customers, ex-workers, Facebook screen-grabs, video and photographic evidence.

I doubt I could run a pub for anything more than a week, but when you hear how badly Woodies Retro Bar performed, I reckon I'd have converted it into a mecca of decadance. Let this posting serve as a warning to others on how NOT to run a pub.

Woodies opened on the 4th December 2009, on Wellingborough's Silver Street, part of the main pub crawl circuit. The venue's previous role was as a branch of the Litten Tree pub chain from the now bankrupt Laurel Pub Company. Imagine an overpriced Wetherspoons, and you get the picture. With the huge space in the venue (originally built as a TSB bank), the place served as a quasi-nightclub in the early Noughties, and was tremendously successful, taking many customers away from Wellingborough's only major nightclub, Bar Life.

Eventually, the rot set in. Violence can be a regular occurence of any provincial night-club, and the Litten Tree's attempts to stop the scraps were beyond farcical, with a few occasions where security staff got involved in the rucks. With the place changing door staff on an almost monthly basis due to the violent problems, and regular fights on the dancefloor, the pub went far beyond what most drinkers see as acceptable. Airport-style security was installed at the door, with each punter being searched by a metal detecting wand, having to empty out their wallets before entry. A police car and ambulance parked outside would be an ensured sight most weekends, so much so that any blue-light vehicle blaring a siren would be referred to as a 'Litten Tree taxi'. With the parent company collapsing, it saw to the end of the dismal pub, having earnt its 'Litter Tray' nickname.

Having sat dank and dark, daubed with whitewash and an optimistic estate agent's sign for around two years, it was optimism that greeted the news on the re-opening, as Woodies Retro Bar.

Landlady Karlee Edmunds told the local paper: "...we are confident that a retro concept is just what Wellingborough town centre needs. ...we will immediately start to fit out the premises with the theme being a '70s discotheque. We are planning a very kitsch interior with mannequins, including Austin Powers".

So far, so tacky. But you can't blame her, as there have been bar chains built on retro concepts, such as 'Flares' for the 1970s and 'Reflex' for the 1980s. (Actually, when the time is right, I'll trademark 'Common People' and 'Rehab' for the 1990s and Noughties respectively.)

What became a worry was that Karlee had taken over an existing Wellingborough pub and caused it demise three times over. A few years ago, Around Town in Cambridge Street was given to Karlee and her friend Debbie to run. It wasn't long before the place began resemble the Marie Celeste, and so they opted for a rebrand...

Urban Knights was the result, sounding more like an album title from a short-lived r'n'b boy band. As you can see from the tacky lettering, it brought forth all the charm of a diarrhea-filled skip. Stripper nights were part of the 'delights' on offer.

It didn't survive long in this incarnation, quickly morphing into Charlie Dee's. Sadly I have no pic to show you, but the glossy sign was in a nice 1930s New York art-deco font, and admittedly added a touch of class over what previously stood there. The schedule made mention of live rock bands and addition of an afternoon grill showed promise. Alas, these were axed within a matter of weeks, and the place soon fell back into the same routine, with the stripper nights returning. Pubs with hot food offerings tend to do well on a busy circuit or a main road, none of which Charlie Dee's played host to.

Unsurprisingly, Charlie Dee's closed its doors in 2009, with Karlee and Debbie quitting the venue. (It's since re-opened under new management as Bailey's.)

This brings us back to Woodie's Retro Bar, described by the Northants Evening Telegraph "a bar for the over-25s, and it has already employed 12 members of staff" back in October 2009.

An over-25s bar in Wellingborough? Very ambitious, and quite daring. It obviously cuts out a significant amount of clientele, yet could be attractive to a wide audience who would prefer familiar music and less of the testosterone-fuelled argy-bargy seen in a typical club. But by November, the management had already decided to scale back this parameter by taking the age limit to just 21...

Ironically, some of the bar staff were aged under 21. Yet deputy manager Matt Armstrong (himself aged 20) stated on Facebook that it would still retain the right kind of crowd. Well, he did so with far less tact than that...

I witnessed the opening night. As I've stated earlier, I've never entered Woodies, but while out on a pub crawl we walked past the place, playing thumping house music (not exactly 1970s) while two teenaged girls were standing outside having a cigarette break. To give it its due, it was fairly crowded.

However, I was later told by those who went, that the bar only had one till with no change available. It was a case of "exact fare only", as they say on the buses. To put the icing on the cake, a fight broke out, instigated by one of the security staff, which cleared the dance floor. This was intepreted as a minor incident on the bar's official Facebook wall...

Woodies dealt with their critics using Facebook in a belligerent manner...

...and bare-faced optimism...

Yet it wouldn't quash the criticism...

Woodies continued with their mocking tone, not realising it was building up massive hubris...

So, sneering at their kebab shop neighbours for being the Wellingborough branch of Fight Club, eh? Bear that in mind. Meanwhile, a change of age limit policy...

So much for keeping the "riff raff out". And then, we learn that despite their previous slating of the kebab shop, it turns out they are "friends", thanks to them supplying bottles of coke...

Barmen Shane Geraghty and Matt Armstrong continued to insult the customer elsewhere on Facebook, with talk of violence and a smattering of homophobia...

So, when you have your deputy manager publicly stating "guys like that need a fuckin kick in the face", do you continue to employ him? Woodies certainly did.

Come to think of it, there's also public evidence of Matt Armstrong supporting a racist organisation...

As you can see, BNP supporter Matt Armstrong continued to be employed by Woodies right up to the end. Still, it's not like this guy was in a hive of activity, as the decline of Woodies became apparent...

By this time, it was common to see Woodies play host to roughly 2-3 people every Saturday in the daytime. The pub itself could fit in 200, yet it was virtually empty, having failed to capitalise on its opening week.

What could be putting people off?..

Still, at least Matt Armstrong could rely on his heavyweight intellect, a feat proclaimed by, er, himself...

Woodies continued with its consistent policy of being inconsistent...

To play house, garage and dubstep in a so-called 'retro' bar is like serving up rare steaks in a vegan restaurant. A clearly dumb move. Even when situated within a pub themed around dance/r'n'b music (Urban Knights), this plan didn't work.

What's even dumber is charging £3 for admission when all other pubs are free to enter. Let's not forget this takes place on 2nd January, a time when the vast majority of punters have spent the last of their disposable income on New Year's Eve. As you can tell by the comments, the night was a flop.

So what new ideas did Karlee Edmunds have to turn around this ailing joint?

Yes, it's back to the strippers. Observe how there's two separate nights, one for lads to ogle a couple of classy female strippers, and one for ladies to salivate over two hunks. Although for £2.50 a throw, I guess I'm being generous with the terms of "classy" and "hunk". Still, Woodies believes in equal opportunities.

In spite of previous failures with stripper events, staff were hyped up beyond the realms of all rational optimism...

As you can see, barman Shane is reasonably sceptical of the event's expected success. Matt is ambiguous yet ludicrously optimistic. However, with the pub continuing to be about as popular as a bacon sandwich in a mosque, management decided to lay someone off. I bet you can guess who that would be...

Classy and professional, huh? Shane took it in his stride, and brought an alleged under-age drinking incident to the public's attention...

Naturally, the "extreemly (sic) intelligent" Matt Armstrong has something to say about this allegation...
So, one worker feuding with an ex-worker, threatening to kick his head in. Not the first time Matt has spewed out his violent tendencies. Remember all this is going on in the comments area of a message posted by the Woodies Retro Bar Facebook account.

A further comment from Shane shines the light on what Karlee and Debbie promised their 12 bar staff when Woodies opened...

And it continues with Matt, who actually calls for a fight at Woodies...
In case the subtlety has been lost, Matt states exactly how he is going to beat up his former colleague...
Thankfully Shane gets the 'conversation' back on track, and with him no longer on the Woodies payroll, he's able to post some home-truths about how badly the pub is doing...

Back to the proposed stripper events, and the Woodies Facebook account continued pasting the two stripper adverts continuously, sometimes three times in one day, just in case you weren't aware. They even reduced the tickets to £1 each during the last week of January. The stripper events got a total of 43 mentions, yet didn't exactly go down well with their Facebook friends...

Hmm, jealous of someone stripping in Woodies at Poundland prices?

By late January, I had heard on the grapevine that their barrels were starting to run out. It wasn't long before they resembled a 1980s Soviet Russian supermarket...

There is an unconfirmed rumour of someone going in there, asking for two pints of Stella. The barman apparently stated how they were unable to offer it on draught. The customer said to use the bottles in the fridge.

According to the rumour, the barman pours several bottles into the two pint glasses, and says "that'll be £12 please", basing it on the cost of the bottles. Twelve quid!? Common sense would dictate that you'd charge the customer the same price as a draught pint. Should there be any wonder why this pub failed?

This past Thursday, I was informed of the pub's closure...

A quick real-life glimpse on the door to confirm...

Yes, that familiar message, "closed for refurb". Seen frequently on businesses that end up being closed permanently, such as the Old Swan nearby, which died after hedging its bets on ladies' nights.

Let's not forget that the Woodies venue was actually done up back in October and November in time for its opening, so why the sudden need for a refurb? There's already cynics out there on the Woodies Facebook wall...

So, just a "refurb", right? That's the official line, and the pub wouldn't contradict itself? Well, take a look at this explanation on their Facebook profile...

It doesn't seem likely that Woodies will ever resurface. I could be wrong, and that's why there's a comments box at the bottom of this post.

Bear in mind that the location for Woodies is on a main stretch of the town centre circuit. At night, there's a buzz of people all heading down towards the Horseshoe Inn and/or Bar Life. Woodies is situated in a position where the Star Bar and Wetherspoon's Red Well act as 'feeder' pubs, yet once news of the fights and dismal atmosphere spready quickly, people actively avoided Woodies.

One Wellingborough Pubwatch report I've heard was that the venue had a total of 19 customers on one weekend night. Ten people were in there, as they left, nine people headed in. That was their entire custom that night. This was a typical audience for the venue.

Having no seating didn't help. Being painted in the colour scheme of a Wacky Warehouse didn't help. The constant spamming on Facebook of their doomed-to-fail stripper nights didn't help. In short, I'm not sure how you could deliberately run a worse pub than this. I have considered that it might actually be a taxloss.

For now, I think I'll leave the last words to the BNP-supporting violence-threatening deputy manager Matt Armstrong, a man whose intelligence is eclipsed many times over by his optimism...


Ryan said...

Good stuff old chum! Since I left Wellingborough I don't get to hear any of this gossip any more. I do remember the dark, dreary days of the Litter Tray though, which seemed to host a fight every week. Personally, I think big pubs are a bad idea: the bar staff can't monitor how much people are drinking. RY

Kat Fiction said...

I think it shows how social networking needs to be used judiciously when promoting a business. I hadn't seen a lot of the stuff you quoted in the post, but if I had (especially the BNP reference and threats of violence towards customers) I would have scrapped any intention of going in there straight away. It's a hard time for the pub trade, especially for new start ups, but they seem to have done everything you shouldn't do. If you have a business plan you believe to be solid (for example, the over 21 retro theme they initially went with), you need to commit to it for a little longer than a few weeks and promote it to hell. I think they may have got through if they'd stuck to that plan (something the other pubs don't offer) and marketed it correctly. Oh, and maybe been a bit more careful with who they hired! The fact is, they had one pub in the town and proved that their approach doesn't work. It was brave of them to go for something else but they didn't appear to have learnt any lessons at all. In business you are going to make mistakes, but learning from them is what dictates whether you will succeed or fail in the future.

Nic said...

It's good to have the full story.

Obviously, living round the corner from it, talking to people in the trade, and knowing Pete, I've heard bits of it before (as Kat says, enough to completely remove any chance of me ever wanting to go into the place), but not all those details.

I didn't realise just how inept the new people were. You can't run a pub without customers, and you can't attract customers by
* having no beer,
* having no change,
* hosting fights,
* having public slanging matches with the ex-staff,
* And probably most importantly of all - having nothing new to offer

The town is littered with dead pubs who didn't have enough of a gimmick to pull the crowds away from their current haunts, or where they just faded out through lack of interest.

I think Kat is spot on - you have two basic options -
1) obliterate the competition by doing the same as them, but much better.
2) Or don't compete directly, be different enough to draw people away for something new and then keep them.

I'm not sure which Woodies was aiming for - it sounded like the second to begin with, but that rapidly seemed to evaporate, to be replaced by a barely noticable effort to do the first.

Either way, you need to stick to it, advertise it to death, and quite simply, be good at it.

It's sad to see it go so quickly, after the "pint and a fight" (sorry, "Litten Tree") stood empty for so long. But it won't be missed.

Caveat - it still said "refurb" on the door as I ambled past this morning, so I don't know if it really has shuffled off it's mortal coil or if it's "just sleeping".

Nina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shane Geraghty said...


I am the Shane Geraghty reffered to in the blog.

1st off, i would like to say that everything that was said by myself, was after i had been laid off. I was also one of the 8 (Including Nina) that was laid off.

I'd also like to say that they are smart about money and what not. Well, the not spending it part. They tried to take a days wages off of me, because they couldnt 'remember' me working the shift, i only got it because i kept pestering them. (At £6 an hour, a shift of £36 was alot!(Only 6 hours))

One of the screen shots, show me posting numbers of people in a pub, the Starbar one, of me being suprised, was because there is usally more people in there. It is a brilliant pub with live singers everyweek and different things all the time.

We were all told we would have a job from about THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMER and that if we helped them refurb, they would make sure we had a minimum of 16 hours.

Because we all thought we had a descent job in our pockets, we stopped looking for another job, or calmed it down abit about other jobs.

This job was then delayed by a month, at this time, 3 people had already left, one to stay at his current job, because 16 hours was not enough, another moved away, and another had a better offer (Good for her :))

They hadn't got shirts(uniforms) sorted out for us all.

They did only have one till, and they did run out of change. We was told to underchange customers. Personally, i dont know how u will take this, but i overchanged people because i just couldnt be made to look like such a tw*t!!

They ran out of vodka a few times, and had to buy some from the Starbar. (Legends in my personal opinion.....helping out a competitor!)

I am glad you made this. Now i can see everyting quite clearly. Much appreciated :)

Spike Nesmith said...

Good lord. What a class act that Matt is.

They should've just called the bar "Springtime For Hitler" and have done with it.

Mathew said...

This is Matt from the blog, first of all my political views have nothing to do with any of you what so ever, i have the right to support and vote whoever i want, calling me a "racist" is bang out of order however i do agree with "some" of BNP's views.

Some of them comments mentioned above have the name censored out and the option to "delete" the comment, this tells me that you have made the comments up yourself as you wouldnt be able to delete somoene elses comment from another profile, so you have been able to stirr up the information yourself.

I like the fact that you can spread my name all over the internet but not other peoples?

To be honest im happy that the business went downhill, yes i've been rude to people, yes i have said things i shouldnt have but after all, im just defending my job, hence the reason why i wasnt one of the first lot to get sacked.

Some of the comments you have posted on here from my personal facebook are comments that have nothing to do with woodies or its employees or customers, you have taken things i've said in completly different private conversations to add information to your blog. Dont get me wrong i've enjoyed reading it but after you worked out it had closed down wouldnt it have been a better idea to just come to me and get all the information you needed about the place? as i did have an inside scoop.

There is a whole chunk of information missing from the blog which explains exactly what went on in woodies, by bad mouting my name you have caused a delay in my job searching.

After everything thats gone on, at the end of the day i was just another employee defending his job and workplace. Even up to now im still owed my last chunk of wages, which when asked for i get the same excuse "ill look into it, i have to ask mum" by mum she means debbie who handled all the money in woodies.

I would be happy to supply up to date, correct, information about woodies and how everything went wrong in there. In general i am sorry for everything that was said to customers and shane even tho me and shane are fine now i was at a bad place in my life and had some anger issues.

To Nina who commented on this, you wont get anything from them no matter how hard you try, they're still in debt from Bailey´s and they owe the last doorstaff company money. However you were told not to close the safe as charlotte was also told (hence why she didnt close it) They havent tried to open the safe because they dont believe your phone is in it, as when they txt you about wages and when they sacked you, you replied to the texts, showing that you had your phone on you (which you shouldnt have had anyway) so they havent found it urgent enough.

All i have to say now is be careful opening up a pub in wellingborough as people are already happy with the clubs/pubs that they have now. Also good luck to the kingfisher which opens up on friday.

Shane Geraghty said...

Matt, you can have ur number transfered to other phones. And Charlottes phone is still in there aswell, so the urgency is still there imo.

Prodge said...

Woah, Matt. So many things wrong with what you've said there...

At no point in the blog entry are you called a racist. The line is actually: "there's also public evidence of Matt Armstrong supporting a racist organisation". Nobody here has tried to deny you the right to support and vote for the BNP, although with the vast amount of exposure on their criminal background and race hatred, it would be incredibly moronic to support those Nazi wannabes.

The comments with the name blurred out are very much real. They were posted by my own Facebook friends to my profile, which is private. This explains the 'Delete' links. As the people who posted them knew they were posting to a private profile, I have decided to keep their names private. There's no need for me to make up any negative comments about Woodies, as you can see from previous comments, it's not just my own friends who believe the place was a dive.

I should also point out that the Facebook screengrabs I did of your comments, as well as Shane's and the Woodies Retro Bar profile, were taken from publicly accessable webpages on Facebook. Not so much a 'personal profile' after all! I am not Facebook friends with any of these three accounts, yet I am still able to retrieve these comments, which means ANYONE else can. This is all fair and above board. In summary, you have made all of your Facebook behaviour public - the BNP support, the threats of violence, the insults to customers, etc. You did that, with your name attached. I'm simply quoting it. Don't blame me for your own actions.

You claim I've taken shots of your "private conversations" on Facebook, yet these are still publicly available for anyone to see. If you had used Facebook mail, e-mail, MSN or similar, then it would be different. You feel you have been 'bad-mouthed' by this blog, yet I've done nothing more than make an echo of what you've been saying publicly.

Thanks for your feedback, it's quite telling that you didn't get sacked first as you blatantly supported the venue in spite of its obvious demise. I'm not going to beat the 'I Told You So' drum, as I've been in a similar situation, but luckily jumped ship just before it sank. Think of it as a life lesson.

I've stated a few times in the entry that I have never entered Woodies, and that I've been writing from the point of view of someone who only walked past the place when going through town, and had occasionally observed the goings on in Facebook. I was so appalled at how it was so badly run that it inspired me to write the blog entry. Yes, I could have gone to you to ask questions, but just about everything you have been writing was very much blindly pro-Woodies, speculating on how it would be packed during the stripper night with every other pub being empty. Sorry, but that's ludicrous and one of many reasons why I never approached you.

Good luck with the fight to get your outstanding wages, and I hope you wish good luck to Nina to get her belongings back from Karlee. I know what it's like to fight a legal battle to get money owed to you, I had to do the same - without a solicitor by my side - and won, despite the odds being against me.

If you want to supply up-to-date correct information, you're more than welcome. I did my best to avoid speculation and just report things that were as factually accurate as possible. Since writing the blog, I've been told a flurry of rumours, lots of them contradicting each other. So far I've been told the closure is down to "a rape", "being done over by a con-man" and "just running out of money". I think the last one is a safe bet, but I can't say for sure. I don't personally know anyone involved with the Woodies venture.

Prodge said...

As for Nina's phone, you do realise it is possible to buy a brand new phone and contact your network to have the number ported over to it if you supply them with your account details? Shane's right on the money with this.

I was pickpocketed at a gig in Newcastle last year, lost my phone and iPod at a gig where over 200 folk got pickpocketed (most of them losing wallets, so I was lucky in that respect).

I went straight to an Orange shop in the morning, bought a brand new phone, and assumed I would have to start all over again with a new number. The sales girl actually put me in contact with Orange HQ, and within 30 mins, my old mobile was blocked, and the new one tied to the same number I've had for ten years. IIRC, iPhones are available through Orange, not just O2.

Since the closure of Woodies there have been two planned re-openings of pubs. The Cannon opened its doors last week and is doing a modest trade, and as you say, the Kingfisher is to reincarnate itself (I hope they've cleaned their lines this time). I wouldn't say luck is needed as such, just a sense of hard work and commitment, because running a pub is not a joyous experience. It only pays off if you put in the graft, listen to what customers want, and learn from past mistakes. Karlee and Debbie didn't do that, that's why they failed.

Brpwrdnsfrnzy said...

Be fair Pete - buying a replacement iPhone is going to cost a lot of money... You could transfer a number a to a new phone (but the mobile operators don't generally make it easy (in my experience)), but an iPhone's an expensive piece of hardware. If I had one locked in someone else's safe, I'd want it back.

@Mathew - if you're not a racist, have you told any of your black and Asian friends (I'm sure you have lots) that you vote BNP? And if so;
a) How did you justify it?
b) What did they say?



Prodge said...

@Brpwrdnsfrnzy: Yeah, I know how expensive an iPhone is, and I'd certainly want it back if I was in that position. I'm not saying it should be forgotten about, I'm just pointing out to Mathew that his assertion on Nina's iPhone still being used, doesn't actually have any credibility. Shane actually beat me to it with his latest comment!

She has most likely got a replacement phone (maybe another iPhone if she's rich, but any phone will do), in order to reply to Karlee's texts.

You've got it spot on with the questioning of Mathew's BNP support.

@Mathew, you do realise the BNP have actually told its members to vote for a PAEDOPHILE? They were so desperate for candidates, they accepted a child-molester to stand for them in the Coventry area. Proof:

Let's not also forget that senior BNP members have violent convictions, and the party continues to engage in outright fraud. (More proof: )

I would really really reconsider the idea of supporting that disgusting vile party, which would destroy Britain if they ever got elected.

Support them if you want to, but I doubt you'll have a lot of friends if you tell them you vote for the Bigoted Nazi Paedo party.

Mathew said...

Fair enough to your points, but the way you have worded everything you have literally braught me down with woodies. As i said before i was mearly defending my job and my place of work, however i am now the one in the shit by staying there so long and now not gettin my final chunk of wages.

Yes i would love to have a chat with you about EXACTLY what went on in woodies and the reasons why its closed and why it didnt do so well, however im not going to do that on this blog, E-Mail would be a much better choice.

As to your comments about the BNP, no i didnt have a clue about the two links you posted, and now am pushed more against the BNP.

As for ninas iPhone, she sent texts the very next day, at an early time in the morning from the same number she usually uses, which leads me to believe that she wouldnt have had time to change her phone details. What she had said to us on the night the items got locked in the safe was "my life savings are in there" there was no mention of a phone until now. The only phone that we know of is definatley in there is the other member of staffs along with her money and fags.

I also know that your a huge fan of the Horseshoe which you will know was woodies main competition in town, which makes me believe that you've wrote the blog just to make sure woodies doesnt re-open. I have a huge feeling that it wont, but i've been cut out of the loop and dont have a clue whats going on with it now but like i said i do know the REAL reason of why its closed.

But even still, giving me a bad name in such a way that you have, i'll be extreemly lucky if i find another bar job in wellingborough. Its like me writing a blog about the BBC and how their childrens programs relate to porn alot of the time. Then me going on to how you write stuff for them. Its not nice.

Daniel said...


Your own comments and publicly viewable content has left you in this position, not the fact that Pete has spent some time to make them easily enjoyed by everyone else.

Threatening fights outside local establishments and insulting paying customers, while being homophobic and with dodgy political views will certainly guarantee that you won't get a job in the same line of work in the local area.

Take a step back, accept your mistakes and learn from them.

You were after all too young to get into Woodies, let alone manage it, so you have plenty of time to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Nina said...
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Nina said...
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Nina said...
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woodies said...

in reply to mr peter thomas creator of this blog, instead of speculating and assuming the reasons why woodies is closed if you would of came straight to us we would be happy to tell you thr correct reasons for the pub closure.
in response to nina no legal action can be taken against karlee as you locked your bag and someone elses bag in the safe on your own accord after being told not to as lockers were provided for all staff to use. As for "volenteering" to help refurb the pub you helped on 2 occasions and stayed for the free lunch provided and then demanded bus fare home.
shane - We appologise on matts behalf for the threatening behaviour towards you when we discovered this was happening matt was spoken to by us and told to stop as this is not the behaviour we want from our staff. as for the 6 hours pay we owed you as soon as you made us aware of it we paid you staight away. your comment that you was told by us to short change people was a lie you was told to ask for exact change or to round it down as we was running low on change.
As for matt supporting the BNP we cannot control our staffs political views as he has the right to support and vote for who he wants to. we do not condone any racial discrimination what so ever. As for matt knowing the real reasons for the pub closure this is untrue and as i stated before if you wish to know the real reasons come to us we would be happy to tell you.As for 8 members of staff being laid off they was all made aware that they was on a trial to start of with and in the trial period if things didnt work out they would be asked to leave, there was reasons for each person that was laid off (for legal reasons we cannot list the reasons why).
As for any illegal activities by karlee this is false if you think you have any evidence otherwise please inform us.
As for running out of drinks we was unaware of the amount of people who would pass through our doors. Also as for the barrels we have had alot of problems with the lines and cellar so some barrels we could not have on.
the rumour that someone was charged £12 for 2 pints of stella is a lie as we made sure our staff was aware that it was to be charged at the same price as the pump!
the statement made sbout the ONLY fight that has happened in the pub the whole time we was open was not started by our security team you are critisising us for this one incident where as other pubs that are close by have fights in there every weekend.
Any money that is owed to anyone will be discussed with these people whom it concerns and no-one else!!!
if you would like to know anymore information please contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions.

debbie (woodies)

Nina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Prodge said...


I'd like to know more on why the pub closed, but I'm not sure I'd get the true picture from you.

As I stated in my entry, there's a notice on the venue door saying "CLOSED FOR REFURB", yet the official Woodies Facebook profile claims the venue is closed due to Police investigation. Come on, make your mind up, which is it?

You also state "for legal reasons we cannot list the reasons why" certain staff were laid off, yet you wasted no time in publicly slagging off ex-worker Shane Geraghty with the line "you was useless" for all to see on Facebook.

This highlights the ineptitude you have in bar management. You publish a statement on an issue and then publish another that contradicts the earlier one! Most confusing.


To blame me for publicising your bad behaviour (which you originally did on Facebook) is like a fouling footballer blaming Sky Sports for the red card he got.

To state the Horseshoe Inn was the "main competition" for Woodies is like the idea of Alex Ferguson being worried about Kettering Town FC.

woodies said...

after the comments that was made to shane we have spoken to him and apologies have bin made by both parties! we no longer see this as an issue as this resolved with shane himself!
As for the reasons for closure we was advised by our landlord and the police to put the notice up on the door while the crime was being investigated, since the sign was put on the door we released a statement on facebook to let our customers know that there is currently an investigation going on. As for the rumours of a rape we have heard that it happened in the kebab shop next door not that we actually believe this, but as everybody in this town go by rumours its down to people to make their own minds up on this issue!!

Mathew said...

So basically your saying that woodies was no competition what so ever towards the horseshoe? So in short you are defending the horseshoe? This leads me to believe that once again you wrote this blog just to make sure that woodies does not re-open.

Once again thats like me working for Channel 5, writing a blog about the BBC and then going on to how you research for them.

However you yourself are not such a nice person, calling some a "liar and a pussy" publicly over the internet is not the best way forward, me and shane have resolved our issues, i sugest you and "MaddAlexis" do the same. Oh and i know for a fact that you know what im talking about. (Its amazing what you can find through google)

As for woodies, i no longer have anything to do with it all i ask for are me amd my girlfriends remaining wages.


Shane Geraghty said...

I'm sorry but when was an apology given to me?

After the message -

"hi shane im very sorry you feel this way about us but we are very glad we sacked you as you was useless at your job you can slag us off all you like because i dont really think ppl would listern to a little boy that knows nothing"

You posted -

"hi its debbie just wondering who barred you? as far as im conserned your not. its down to me and karlee to bar somebody you are more than welcome to come in and if you have any complaints you know where i am come and see me."

And i didnt come in. I was curious where it says "I am sorry" or something similar.

Prodge said...


I did not write the blog to ensure Woodies does not reopen. As Daniel rightly says above, yourself and the bar management have already done enough damage through ridiculous comments and threats viewable to the public.

In January, Wellingborough had just 24 active pubs, the lowest in living memory. Over 50 close down a week in the UK. As I said at the start of my entry, "I really do not want to appear like I'm mocking their failure, yet I feel compelled to detail the catastrosphic details of this pub's brief biography".

Woodies had a unique idea. The retro theme bar had never been done before in this town. Good on Karlee and Debbie for doing that research. Over 25s? A brave punt, but a good step, giving the circuit something different and hopefully, peaceful. All of these unique selling points quickly evaporated within days, and it just became like Urban Knights/Charlie Dee's. Woodies threw away their opportunities.

Woodies had a sizable crowd on its opening weekend. Respectable for a medium-sized Wellingborough pub like Rafferties, Fiddler's Elbow, Bailey's, but not enough to worry big players Gloucester, Cutting Room, Horseshoe or Red Well. The crowds never came back because of the chaos - the single till, the very much un1970s music, unavailable change, etc. As a deodorant advert once said, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression'.

I don't know why you persist in the BBC analogy. If there genuinely is something bad I'm doing for the Beeb, please write about it and actually make a point. If there really is a link between their children's output and porn, you've struck tabloid gold, so go to the Sun and claim your exclusive! Thing is, I've never been permanently employed by the BBC, I've done work for them based on short-term contracts. I don't work for the Horseshoe either, and I've never been afraid to criticise them.

You've brought up the rants by YouTube user MaddAlexis on my channel. Whilst I've dumbed down my responses to a level where I'm writing juvenile put-downs, it does help if you do some reading. Go back to older pages, and that user is saying things like: "i'll knock yo head with my shoulders bitch", "you gay piece of garbage" and "go kill yourself". Rather than write the same kind of stuff back to him, I just pointed out that he's not capable of carrying out his threats, ever. Yes, it's playground name-calling, but it's humiliated him and quashed his credibility.

Mathew said...

Even tho there was no official appolagy from me, I considered us to be fine when our arguing stopped and i was talking to you about keyboards and also commenting on your statuses. Not to mention saying hi when you walked past me outside woodies.

Nic said...

It is a nice change to see a blog help to clarify things.

From reading recent posts here, it sounds like many of the people involved in the events at Woodies have genuinely seen things from the point of view of other people, listened, thought about it, and re-examined what they've said. It does seem like some apologies and clarifications have happened and that is a good thing for everyone.

I still have a couple of areas of uncertainty on things posted by @Woodies. It's out of my own curiosity though, so I'll not hold it against anyone if there's no response.

> instead of speculating and assuming the reasons why woodies is closed if you would of came straight to us we would be happy to tell you thr correct reasons for the pub closure.

I don't know the people who ran Woodies, but I'd like to know the "correct reasons for closure". A later posting was

>As for the reasons for closure we was advised by our landlord and the police to put the notice up on the door while the crime was being investigated, since the sign was put on the door we released a statement on facebook to let our customers know that there is currently an investigation going on.

But that still doesn't explain the closure, or why we have two completely different explanations. Is it a refurb or on the request of the police?

Having worked with big businesses, I am fully aware that being caught "being economical with the truth" is commercial suicide, so if there is a police shutdown, then the landlord will have not told anyone to put up a sign saying "refurb" as it's a complete lie (and in a small town like Wellingborough, one that will be spotted very quickly). If it is a refurb, then I find it a little odd that nothing has happened yet? I am well aware that I do not have the full story, but I'd like to know what is really happening.

There's also another thing that my instincts say isn't right

>in response to nina no legal action can be taken against karlee as you locked your bag and someone elses bag in the safe on your own accord after being told not to as lockers were provided for all staff to use

The circumstances of how or why someone has another persons property are utterly irrelevant when it comes to returning it. Unless you have a mutually agreed contract/permission or a court order, you may not retain another persons property.

It sounds like Nina is taking steps towards civil legal action which is a right that everyone in this country ALWAYS has, no matter how trivial the problem, or what the other person thinks. Whether there is a case to answer is not up to either party, it is up to the courts, as is the outcome.

But seriously, if someone is threatening court, it is in everyone's best interest to sort it out civilly (except the lawyers, who are the only ones who will money out of it). Agree mistakes were made without blaming any "side", give Nina her stuff back, and move on. If it costs to open the safe, split the bill after agreeing which locksmith you're all going to trust.

People here are showing they can take steps towards forgiveness and I'd like to see more of it!

Lainey said...

I'm sorry but how is this possible??!!?

"As for running out of drinks we was unaware of the amount of people who would pass through our doors."

Surely some sort of market research would have been done prior to opening up and then compiling of stats and data analysis to figure out how much should be bought?

Prodge said...

Nic is right.

You can argue 'til you're blue in the face about someone locking away their property inside your property, but it doesn't make it a case of "finders keepers". A credible effort has to be made to return the property to its rightful owner, and so far, @Woodies doesn't appear willing to do so.

Hence why it is illegal for you to keep any apples that drop off your next-door neighbour's tree into your garden. Legally, you are obliged to return them if asked to. (It even applies to fallen twigs and branches, not that anyone's likely to ask you for them.)

Nic said...

Well, the "Closed for Re-Think" signs were pulled down a couple of days after going up.

But there's no sign of a refurb - walking past it every day, it's clear that absolutely nothing is being done (just the glue on the window-sheets is failing). Doesn't look like there is any damage downstairs, although if it were at the back, it would be hard to see from the street.