Jobs boost as Italian restaurant and shop opens

Up to 38 jobs have been created in Oakham with the opening of a convenience store and an Italian restaurant.

The Co-operative will be opening its doors at the site of the former Horseshoe Inn pub in Braunston Road on Friday next week.

The opening has created 18 jobs within the store. A wide range of food and drink will be on offer, as well as an in-store bakery and cash machine.

Italian chain Wildwood Kitchen has moved into the premises previously occupied by Furleys furniture store in High Street, creating 20 positions. It will open to the public on Sunday.

Matthew Garton, operations manager for new Co-operative stores, was delighted to be opening.

He said: "We've been looking forward to opening day of our new Oakham Co-operative food store. It includes modern, environmentally-friendly refrigeration cabinets and lighting to ensure energy efficiency. Colleagues are keen to welcome new customers to the fresh, modern store, and be a part of the community and local initiatives."

The shop will be open every day from 7am to 10pm.

Leicestershire brewery Everards made the decision in March last year to convert the pub into a shop. The firm said the pub was "no longer viable" because of falling trade in recent years.

The planning aapplication prompted a petition from the owners of Briars Mini Market in Churchill Road, which is just around the corner from the site. More than 600 people signed the document to keep it open.

Devinder Gill, who owns the shop with her husband Inderjit, insisted there was no need for another convenience store in the area and that the closure of the pub would be a real loss for the community.

Despite the best efforts of Mr and Mrs Gill, the pub's landlord and landlady, and the Rutland branch of the real ale campaign group Camra, the brewery went ahead with the plans and development started.

Wildwood Kitchen will offer freshly made pizzas, pastas and grilled dishes along with a children's menu.

Manager Jack White said: "Wildwood Kitchen offers quite a small, simple menu but everything is freshly made on the premises with good quality ingredients. We are family friendly and pride ourselves on consistency - you know exactly what you will get."

It will open from midday until 10pm every day and has a play area upstairs.

Mr White said: "I hope everyone will enjoy what we offer. We look forward to becoming part of the community."

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