Owner of March Hare Bakery and Tearooms in Corby Glen expands business to include B&B
A Corby Glen-based business owner has expanded her portfolio to include a bed and breakfast.
Amy Roberts, 35, owns the March Hare Bakery and Tearooms, in Market Place, Corby Glen.
Having established the tearooms back in October 2018, Amy is coming up to her second anniversary, and has recently launched the Mad Hatter’s B&B.
The B&B has three bedrooms, and joins The Hair Room hairdressers, run by Sophie Kemp, upstairs above the tearooms.
Amy began this venture in the midst of lockdown, but it seems to be a success so far. She spoke about the challenges of opening the B&B during a pandemic and what guests can expect when they visit.
How long have you wanted to open a B&B?
During lockdown we lost the people we sub-let to, so it was kind of a quick ‘what do we do?’ and this was the best option. We thought it would work well with the tearooms downstairs, so we thought we’d try the two together.
Is it something you have experience in?
No, not at all. It’s all very new!
What challenges have you faced opening a B&B during the coronavirus pandemic?
Well, it took a lot longer to get the planning [approval] than anticipated, so we were just trying to get it up and running as soon as we could. Also, because it’s a shared bathroom we can only rent one room out or the whole place out. So what we are trying to do is push people to rent the whole place out.
There’s a twin, double and a king with a living room, kitchen and bathroom. It’s quite a big space.
Then we have a hairdresser who has a room at the end, so if it’s a bridal party they can have everything done. There’s a local make-up artist who can come in as well, so it’s a full set up.
How did the opening go?
We had our first people in on September 1, so that was very exciting! A lot of hard labour has gone into it, a lot of decorating. It’s been a big team effort with beds being delivered in a tight stairway, so all those kind of fun and games.
We’ve got another party in a couple of weeks and we are booked out over New Year’s. We just want to try and push a few more in to try and recoup the cost at this tough time that wasn’t expected.
How have you coped as a business owner during lockdown?
It’s been very difficult. We shut for three months. We felt it was morally the right thing to do.
I delivered bread, milk, eggs and cakes to people that needed it, who couldn’t get out the house in the villages surrounding, just to try and help people who really couldn’t get out.
There’s a lot of villages round here that don’t have any facilities at all.
It’s been very tough but we’ve all got to keep going.
What can guests expect?
We’ve created a garden to the side that was a dumping ground, which has been fantastic since reopening, with people wanting to sit outside. We’ve got outside the front and outside the back as well as inside, which has been a real God-send. We’re on a big cycling and walking route. We have lots of cyclists, so we’ve recently got these new bike racks, so cyclists can come and park their bikes. A lot of people seem to support us like that. When a cyclist comes they stick it on all of their [social media] pages.
Do you enjoy running your own business?
It’s been a hard graft and we are proud of tearooms and the customer service that we give to everyone. If you go on TripAdvisor and on Google, you can see all the great reviews that we get. It’s been a tough old road, that’s for sure, but one that I wouldn’t change. I have a great team now and that makes a great difference.