This is not your usual plea for support!
In March 2020, the lock-down was announced…and I think we all felt a sense of shock by the announcement… the following few days and weeks I sat in my office, as day after day, our business started to fall apart. Just like so many others. We lost 95% of our 2020 Bookings in just a few weeks. I have kept the A1 Year Planner with red marker pen crosses / cancellations throughout as a reminder of the hell I was feeling at that time.
Rice Box Events is a professional hospitality business. We usually attend weddings, corporate functions, food and drink festivals, agricultural shows and music festivals with our street food and bar units.
I have always been a person who believes that you have to work for what you earn. From the age of eight I have never stopped working. It makes me smile to think that from 8 to 16 I had this many jobs…
Corona Pop Boy, Paper Round, Office Cleaner, Italian Restaurant Pizza Topper, Fairground Worker and YTS Trainee.
In 2018 I decided to set up Rice Box Events having suffered a physical and mental breakdown after many years in corporate life working at the most senior levels. I’m not ashamed to say that I lost the plot and forgot what life was really about.
I wanted to be around people during happy times, weddings, celebrations, gatherings, friendships and social connection. A business that supported that ideal seemed like the best way to go.
It’s been really hard but we are still here doing the best we can.
So, in March 2020, with the support of my wife and close colleagues, we decided to light up the oven in our beautiful converted horsebox “Dough Bellissimo” to serve authentic wood fired pizzas from our home. A home in fact that was being renovated and uninhabitable having being taken back to bare brick so that we could rebuild it as it was in 1910 when it was originally built. Another worry given the circumstances of the pandemic.
We were the first in the local community to offer good, honest, quality home cooked food at a time when people needed it most. Nurses were run ragged and had no time to cook. Key workers were needy after a long hard shift. Families were stuck with limited choices for good food quick and there was little or nothing available. Following the guidance from Government and our membership catering association NCASS we decided to open up and put ourselves at the front-line even though the risks at that time were unknown but sounded really scary!
The support was unimaginable!!!
WE THANK ALL OF YOU WHO BOOKED IN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS AND CONTINUE TO DO SO. YOU HAVE SAVED OUR LIVELIHOOD, OUR HOME AND OUR BUSINESS.
We still have no original business to go back to. It’s looking like 2021 may just see the start of business as usual for us so we do have to work hard, creatively and with speed, energy and enthusiasm to survive and also provide a service and sense of belonging to our community as we have demonstrated in the past 14 weeks.
As many people have seen recently we have applied for license and pre-planning advice to set-up a Pizza Tipi and Bar from our smallholding in Northop for the foreseeable future.
We appreciate that the local community may have some concerns about this and I just want to clarify some urban myths before they get in the way of what could be an amazing addition to community socialising.
Noise: This won’t be a 24/7 – 365 Glastonbury! We aim to hold 10 to 15 private functions a year where the customers, just may, want some live music playing. So that’s about 350 days without Live Music.
We will have background streamed music in the Tipi and more along the lines of Michael Buble than the Foo Fighters!
The setting will be unique (we think) to anything else in North Wales. Relaxed, social and welcoming… but funky too! A bit out of the norm. Not your local pub and we respect that pubs will always offer something else and different to ourselves.
Safety. Read our reviews on our Facebook Page about how responsible we have been throughout this pandemic. This will continue and it has been proved that one of the safest and Covid unfriendly environments is in the open air and sunlight. Something a Tipi and large open space gives all day long.
Safety: Bar and food. We are rated Food Hygiene 5 by FCC for our Bars and Food.
Community: As we will only operate in the evenings we will be offering the Tipi for hire to the community with special rates and even free for Mental Health charities for social support groups and activities.
My final point. And one that I and not ashamed to tell all.
My final weeks in corporate life were hell (as I mentioned at the start of this blog). So much so that I was diagnosed with severe depression shortly before handing my notice in as a Board Member of a large UK company. That is history… I took the medication and set up Rice Box Events. I kept taking the medication and things got better and slowly I began to realise the power we had to make special moments and memories in people’s lives through our wonderful business.
In March… there was a risk of a relapse. But I went forward and started to meet and talk with the most wonderful people who came to buy our pizzas.
My customers are the ” magic tonic” I need and I hope we will be eating, drinking, talking and laughing together when we get this thing set up soon.
Please support our application to obtain a premises licence and planning application to open up our smallholding in Starkey Lane, Northop to offer the local community and unique place to eat great food and enjoy a drink in a semi outdoor environment using a Giant Tipi and our horseboxes providing wood fired pizzas “Dough Bellissimo” and the “Hall & Smith” Bar.
We have set up a petition to collate some support. PLEASE ONLY SIGN IF YOU ARE IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY OF CH5, CH6 and CH7 – THANKS!
Jason (Rice Box Events)