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Fashion & Beauty

This pub now doubles as a barbers

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Barber Claire Crocker gives Jon Coward a haircut at The Bear Inn. (SWNS)

By Ed Cullinane via SWNS

A village pub has proved it's a cut above the rest by doubling up - as a BARBERS.

Staff at rural boozer The Bear have been hosting a local barber in recent weeks - bringing hair raising numbers of new customers to the village.

Pub landlord and local Jon Coward, 41, says the "haircut and a pint" plan was originally just to drum up some activity - but has become hugely popular.

Locals from around Wiveliscombe, England, a small village with a few small shops, a pub and a cafe, have now descended from the hills since the new enterprise kicked off.

Bringing in anywhere between five to 15 customers a day, local barber Claire Croder, 40, said she has permanently stopped cutting hair in the nearby down of Wellington to make time.

Barber Claire Crocker gives Jon Coward a haircut at The Bear Inn. (SWNS)
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Claire, a mother of four who has lived in Wiveliscombe for the last six years, says she now plans to eventually set up her own shop in the village.

She said: "I knew that it would be successful but we've done really well, surprisingly well. I never thought it'd pick up so quickly.

"The first week I was getting fifteen people in a day, which was more than I was getting in the barber shop I worked at in Wellington town.

"A lot of people have a little coffee before their trim or a pint after, in fact I've had a few people come in for a cut and see their mates having a drink and joining them after.

"It's made a really social, nice community atmosphere and the plan now is to set up permanently.

"I know a lot of people around the local area after having lived here for six years and so many people who are coming in now I've never seen before.

"One man who came in last week hadn't been in the village in four years, he'd normally go to Wellington or cut his hair himself, so it's definitely bringing people into town.

"I've had so many cuts to do here in Wiveliscombe on my days off I've basically settled down to work here rather than travel around - it feels like I've really settled in now."

Cut prices for The Bear Inn. (SWNS)

The Bear owner Jon said the plan began as an effort to try and bring more business into the village.

He explained that it had been part of a several stage process, but has been so enormously successful that it's already had an impact on business.

He added: "The idea was to try and create a reason for people to come out of their houses and into the village.

"We wanted to create a closer place for people to congregate and meet, especially as the older generation in the village can't get to any barbers or other facilities nearby without leaving the village.

"Given we have a lot of older people in the village, we wanted to get people out of the house post-covid and making use of the local facilities.

"Particularly as there's no bus here, so you cant get out of the village easily either.

"Wiveliscombe is a lovely village and a fantastic place to live, but in the afternoons here the village high street and the pub are just quite dead.

"We decided that the Bear had some space to use given how quiet it was, and over the years the pub's become a nice hub for the local community - so why not use that?

"Facilities like a barber shop brings new people in from the hills, literally because the village is in a bit of a valley.

"Those people are then going off into the shops and into the cafe etc and so other businesses and the community are benefitting from it greatly."

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