The other day, I received an e-mail from Fleurets, the licensed trade estate agents, about the Red Lyon in Whitchurch, Shropshire, a former Wetherspoon’s pub that is now closed and up for sale. It could be yours for £300,000, freehold and contents.
I’ve recently praised Wetherspoons’ skills in site identification and property management. But it’s clear they don’t always get it right. This web page listing all of Wetherspoon’s outlets, also lists 99 former ones that have closed. In some cases, they may have moved to bigger and better premises nearby, but in others they must have misjudged the local market, as they spectacularly did with the Edwin Chadwick in Longsight, Manchester.
There are Spoons in some fairly small market towns, of similar size to Whitchurch, such as Ross-on-Wye and Haverfordwest. I don’t know the Red Lyon, so can’t really comment on why it closed, but it would be interesting to look into the reasons that lead to Spoons succeeding in some small towns, and failing in others. This news report links it to a general decline of pubs in the town. There is a Cheshire example in the Lodestar in Neston on the Wirral. Maybe a key factor is the extent to which a town is a magnet for people from the surrounding area.