Pub owner hits back at residents' small town attitude that has driven him away from Kenilworth

  Posted: 19.11.21 at 09:53 by The Editor

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The owner of a Kenilworth pub has hit back at the "small town attitude" of residents after deciding not to renew his lease just months after opening.

Mick Griffin, who runs the Cottage Inn with his wife Samantha Heslop-Griffin, said a vocal minority in Kenilworth have made it impossible to get their business off the ground.

And he has warned that the constant criticism and negativity on social media of the “Kenilworth mafia” will mean the town will just be left with empty shops and pubs.

“These people think they are better than they are. I read that Kenilworth Vibes and some of the people on there are just vile,” said Mick.

“Some of the people we have met have been great, the regulars have been fantastic. But it’s the snipers who are the problem.”

After taking over the Stoneleigh Road pub in 2020 the husband and wife team spent nearly £30,000 on renovations before finally welcoming their first customers in May 2021.

Mick said constant criticism and negativity has driven him away

But despite early positivity from regulars Mick said the constant negativity on social media and around the town has made it a constant battle to stay open.

“Its an uphill battle and frankly they’re taking the mick. I don’t think they will ever accept us because we are not one of them,” he said.

“The Kenilworth mafia have told us that they don’t like the manager and if we don’t replace her with somebody locally then the place will never take off.

“One of the regulars told us that we wont get anywhere unless we start hiring more local people, but half the people who live in Kenilworth have moved there!”

Coventry-based Mick, who also owns the Longford Engine, Rose and Woodbine and Railway Inn pubs, said their success elsewhere shows it wasn’t a problem with the business model, but with the location of the Cottage Inn.

Mick and Samantha have spent over £30,000 doing up the pub

“I have given up with their small town attitude, let them get on with it. I run three successful venues doing the same thing, so there is nothing wrong with the business model, its just the place,” he said.

“These are just small minded people who think they are right about everything but have never done anything with their lives.

“They’re going to end up with a load of empty places, and that is what they deserve.”

Despite the negativity from a small portion of the town Mick did thank the regulars and majority of other customers who had been supportive.

“No matter what you do in life there is always going to be someone who you wont please. I’d say 95 per cent of the reviews have been positive.

“There have been a lot of customers who have been great, gave us excellent feedback and kept coming back. But there has been one section of Kenilworth that have just had it in for us from the word go.”

As well as deciding not to persist with the Cottage Inn, Samantha, who had always dreamed of opening her own restaurant, has now taken a step back from the hospitality business.

“She is not as involved as she used to be, and I don’t think she will be in a hurry to open another restaurant.”

Having now taken the decision not to renew the lease, they will leave the pub in March 2022 and interest has already been shown by another prospective owner.

Mick added: “I really do wish him well; he said he has something completely different planned, so let’s hope it works out for him.

“I have tried everything, we have tried live music, they said they wanted a quiz night and then nobody turned up.

“If somebody opened a pub in Kenilworth and gave them everything for free they’d probably still complain about that.”

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