West Midlands operators begin six site expansion plan

Russell Moreton and Melissa Nicholls have taken on their second pub.

West Midlands operators Russell Moreton and Melissa Nicholls (pictured), who run The Mount Tavern in Penn, Wolverhampton, have taken on their second pub as part of a two-year expansion plan. 

Following the addition of The Wall Heath Tavern in Wall Heath, the duo’s first site with Star Pubs & Bars, their plan is to build an estate of six community pubs in the West Midlands over the next two years. 

"The West Midlands is buoyant," says Nicholls. "There’s a lot of money still around in the area. Our strategy is to create multi-faceted pubs that attract an eclectic mix of customers, as we believe this is the most resilient style of operation. 

"We have run The Wall Heath Tavern on a temporary basis for over a year and seen how much of a community-based environment it is locally and the support that goes with that. The pub had lost its way recently. We refocussed it at the heart of the community and increased trade as a result. It now has a good reputation and we’re looking forward to growing business further on the back of the upgrade."

Joint investment

The partners and Star Pubs & Bars are undertaking a joint £300,000 investment of The Wall Heath Tavern. It will reopen at the end of June.

Funds are being spent on an internal and external redecoration, with a refurbished bar area and new furniture. Outside there will be new signage, lighting and outdoor seating and tables, as well as timber planters and a new paved patio.

There is also plans for The Wall Heath Tavern to include quiz nights, live sports and fortnightly entertainment. 

"Russell and Melissa are perfect for The Wall Heath Tavern," says Sandi Tipton, business development manager at Star Pubs & Bars. "They know the local area well having run the pub on a temporary basis for the last 14 months. Having run The Mount Tavern in Penn for over 10 years, they also have a real understanding of pub goers increased expectations and of what local customers want, which the investment will help them deliver."

This recent spend is part of £40m being invested by Heineken in its Star Pubs & Bars estate in 2023.

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