A father and son duo have fulfilled a long held ambition after transforming a historic empty village pub into a specialist cycle shop and licensed cafe.
Cyclists Barry and Matthew Denny opened Maglia Rosso this week after a £100,000 revamp of the former Metcalfe Arms, in Hawstead, which closed in 2011 after almost 165 years trading.
As well as saving a building at the heart of the village community, the venture has created four full time and six part time jobs.
Matthew, who runs building renovation company Lark Valley Projects Ltd, said: “We’ve been cyclists for the last 20 to 25 years and it’s been a passion to have a bike shop one day. When the place at Hawstead came up and being fairly close to where we live, we took the opportunity.”
His dad Barry, who is a partner in Lark Valley and managing director of Denny Bros, said: “We always thought if we did it we would do it properly and do it with a destination cafe because the two complement each other so well. When this pub came on the market, we said if we’re going to do it at all this is the time.”
“We had a fair bit of support from local residents who realised it wasn’t viable as a pub but were pleased to see it was being used for something. “ There is also a family connection as Barry’s grandfather Dennis lived in Hawstead and went to the pub.
They hope Maglia Rosso, named after the red jersey awarded to the best sprinter in the Tour of Italy cycle race, will become a ‘mecca for cyclists of all ages’ and a destination cafe for the community and surrounding area.
It will feature mid to high end road and mountain bikes plus specialist children’s bikes. There will be bike hire and they will publish cycle routes.