A 22-year-old entrepreneur has quit a career sailing the world on a multi-million pound superyacht to fulfil his life’s ambition of opening a pub and restaurant in his home town of Consett.
Rhys Turner had lived in the County Durham town all his life before taking a job on the luxury yacht, owned by a wealthy family and cruised around the South Pacific and Australasia. He had always harboured a desire to one day leave his life on the ocean waves and open a pub.
After three and a half years touring tropical islands, Turner returned to Consett in February with plans to open his first business, though he admits he did not expect to find the perfect venue on his doorstep.
But, after checking out The Smelters Arms in Front Street, he decided it was exactly what he was looking for and teamed up with his parents Vicky and Norman to buy the building.
Turner has invested £250,000 in buying and refurbishing the community pub, including new kitchens and toilets, which has been supported by a £95,000 Lloyds Bank Commercia mortgage.
He has also created 10 new jobs in the process.
The pub retains its traditional bar, but also includes a 52-cover restaurant The Steak House, overseen by a new chef with a background cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants.
Turner said: “Buying a pub is something that I have always wanted to do when I settled down, but I never thought it would be in my home town.
“Straight away I really liked the look of the place, though it was in need of a lot of TLC. My ambition is for The Smelters Arms and The Steak House to be the best of both worlds, with a friendly bar for the locals as well as a restaurant that will bring in trade outside the immediate area.
“We consulted with the regulars on how we should redecorate and we are keen to be part of the community, which has included sponsoring the local girls’ football league.”
Turner hopes the menu will include firm favourites, but with an up-to-date twist on some classic dishes using locally-sourced produce. The Steak House and The Smelters Arms officially opened on October 25.
David Channon, relationship manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It is fantastic to see this local pub being brought up-to-date and I am sure it will prove tremendously popular with locals and visitors alike.”