Working in a classroom can be enough to turn even the most dedicated of teachers to drink, but a former languages tutor has tapped into his love of the continent and craft beer to breathe a new lease of life into a former Rotherham-based DIY shop after tapping into help from alternative lending provider Finance For Enterprise.
After spending time working as a teacher, Simon Evans called time on life in the classroom, in favour of following a lifelong dream of running his own micropub. Simon first developed an interest in fine wines and independent breweries when he secured a job in an exclusive wine shop to pay his way as a student.
Encouraged by the success of Rotherham’s first micropub, the Wath Tap, when a former DIY shop, at the Stag Roundabout became available, the aspiring entrepreneur realised he had found the perfect premises for his new venture. Within just a few weeks, the empty shop had been transformed. Modelled on a French style bistro, featuring an eclectic range of furniture and six different hand pulled beers for customers to sample, the Dragon’s Tap fired into business. Such has been the popularity of the pub that it was crowned as Rotherham CAMRA’s Autumn Pub of the Season and has even secured a place in the Good Beer Guide.
Simon has been keen not to rest on his laurels either. Since opening the Dragon’s Tap he continued to invest in the premises, transforming the upstairs of the building into a live music venue, which is used regularly for private functions and he has continued to invest in expanding the range of drinks on offer to include an eye-watering selection of more than 60 gins, as well as a changing range of six real ales, four craft beers and ciders.
“Setting up the business was a leap of faith. It felt like I was on a bungee rope! But I knew that if the micropub was going to be viable, a cash injection was vital, enabling me to transform the empty shop into my dream pub. Many banks are reluctant to lend to new businesses with no proven trading history, and so I decided to contact Finance For Enterprise. “Working with an investment manager, they have been incredibly supportive and without their help, I suspect I’d still be wondering ‘what if’. Finance For Enterprise provides a range of tailored loans, aimed at helping SMEs throughout the Sheffield City Region and North East Lincolnshire. The company acts as a fund manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Start Up Loans UK and provides business loans up to £250,000.