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October 2017
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Pub De Herberg back in business within six months after tragic fire

‘s-Gravendeel – De Herberg, a renowned and cozy pub run by Sjanie Breure and her partner John van Noort, caught fire in June. Since then, Sjanie’s dream pub at the Langestraat in ‘s-Gravendeel has not been opened. Five months went by without being able to enjoy the ambiance of their favorite pub. Its loyal guests had lost their favorite place to catch up. More accurately, they had lost a warm home full of memories that cannot be missed in their lives. Five months after the disastrous fire De Herberg established itself a new home and now it is time for the pub to spread its broken wings apart once again.

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Sjanie Breure standing in front of the new location of De Herberg. © Photo Dennis Tuk

Sjanie, who lives in Puttershoek, speaks from the pub’s new location at the Hendrik Hamerstraat in ‘s-Gravendeel. She still has not forgotten a single detail of June 13th. Thinking back to being called in the middle of the night at 5.20 AM, she speaks about the devastating fire that ruined her business by leaving a lifetime scar in her heart. “I had plans of buying the old building, so it still hurts that I cannot stay there. Now, with a site that is much bigger, a purchase seems to be impossible.”

Immediately after the fire in June several rescue plans emerged. Sjanie explained that renovating the old site, which would last approximately one year, did not seem to have a ghost of a chance after it appeared to be too expensive. “In the beginning of September I was told that the insurance company was not willing to meet the building’s owner’s financial demands for renovating the old site.”

Although she still misses the place, she is happy to have moved into a new location, which she had always considered as a back-up plan. The financial aspect also plays a role here. “I had little income during the months after the fire. And these days we need to keep working until we turn 67.”

Clearly, a sense of relief was felt after the first two weeks of cleaning and renovating the inside of new location of De Herberg. Dust has been removed from the shelves and decorations have been rearranged. It is obvious that Sjanie lives for running the pub. All this time without having the opportunity to run her business has been devastating for her.

Paying a visit to this pub should always feel like coming home, she explains. “We want to create the ‘living room’ atmosphere. That’s the beautiful thing about it. Guests are friendly towards each other and me. And more importantly, they respect our rules.”

Loyal customers

In ‘s-Gravendeel De Herberg is seen as a breeding spot for social people who can enjoy a drink and share a laugh surrounded by a cheerful ambiance. Undoubtedly the tragic fire in June has had a huge impact on guests, but Sjanie cherishes her good relationship with them. “Since the fire we have always been having contact through WhatsApp. We have also had customers on the phone, because we had missed each other.”

With an enormous group of regular guests, De Herberg can count on a good revenue stream. A frequent visitor is the 30-year-old John from ‘s-Gravendeel. Together with friends he visits De Herberg on a weekly basis. Staring at his glass of beer in the new location of De Herberg, he looks back at this gray period without the pub. “It has been tough sometimes. Watching football in the pub was one of the things I missed a lot.”

John is relieved now that he can visit his favorite pub again. “Now the pub has gotten its unique atmosphere back.” As a customer he is concerned about Sjanie, whom is also known in the area as ‘Aunt Sjaan’. “Inside the pub I always behave well and I think this is very much appreciated.”

Sjanie, who is always in for a little chat, cannot agree more. “It’s about hospitability and people around me. I treat my customers as friends whom I have good ties with. They have even helped me with cleaning the place. It is also very important to me that people follow the rules so that issues with the police and town council are prevented.”

Settling into the new premises

Bearing in mind that guests have extremely close ties with the owners of this pub, the area needs De Herberg as much as fish need the ocean: the Hoeksche Waard cannot go without the pub. Over time well-structured management has become a fundamental factor for the business, Sjanie argues. “Due to good entrepreneurship and trustworthiness my business was running extremely well.

One of the most important things for me about moving into a new location concerned being brewery-free.” Without having to worry about the pub being put in the hands of a brewery, Sjanie has much more space to conduct her business.

Looking forward to what is coming up, Sjanie is keen not to let anything bad happen to her pub, which she has always cherished as her everything. It will start living a second life. It may have moved to a new location, but the atmosphere in the pub will prevail since De Herberg’s loyal guests will not abandon Sjanie. Known as a happy and friendly soul, Sjanie has great plans to treat her customers in the best way possible.

“The fact that the new location is much bigger poses many opportunities. It is challenging for us to organize wedding parties and company parties. We can expand our catering services and serve food on the terrace during summer. This location offers more options and this is challenging to us. First, we want to make the location more colorful from the inside.” De Herberg rises from its ashes like a phoenix and it essential for ‘s-Gravendeel that this beloved pub will be cherished for years.

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