Pub manager Ian Gardner may have worked for Wetherspoon for more than 20 years, but regular changes and innovations across the company, as well as his working environment, always bring a fresh new challenge.
Ian has managed The Cordwainer (Northampton) since July 2009, when it first opened as a Lloyds bar. Back then, it was one of three Wetherspoon pubs in the town centre.
In the summer of 2019, with a full refurbishment and expansion, The Cordwainer underwent a £1-million investment project, adding a new roof-top terrace and increasing the indoor capacity.
Ian reported: “The reopening of our new-look pub was just around eight months before lockdown happened, so we still don’t know the full potential of the pub – and things still feel quite new.
“We are also now the only Wetherspoon pub in the town centre; so, more than 12 years on from opening, there is still enough excitement and much ambition for me as pub manager.
“During my career with the company, there has been some change every few years – this offers a dynamic new look to my job… which is absolutely great.”
Ian first joined the company in 1998 at The Figure of Eight (Birmingham), but left to complete a chemistry degree at the University of Birmingham.
He laughed: “That’s when I found out that I’m rubbish at chemistry!”
Ian returned in June 2000, working for two years at The Spread Eagle (Acocks Green, Birmingham) as a relief manager, then spent about a year at The Rising Sun (Redditch) and had a five-year stint at The Briar Rose (Birmingham), before moving to Northampton.
Ian, 44, said: “I spent my formative years in Birmingham and my ‘growing-up’ in Northampton, in terms of my career and family life. I now have three children (aged six, nine and 13).
“I have worked for several types of manager and have learned something different from each – from discipline to a passion for real ale.
“The company is absolutely brilliant, too, and has given me everything during the past 20+ years.
“The main thing about Wetherspoon is that it cares about its people. Tim Martin is passionate about his people.
“I also love helping to develop people and seeing them fulfil their ambitions.”
Ian concluded: “I am lucky to be in the position where I am. I have a great job, in a brilliant pub, in a place which I love.
“My dream is to be here long enough to have a statue erected, in the middle of the pub, when I eventually hang up my apron.”
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