An Ellon town centre pub is under new ownership.
Martin Smith has taken over the Tolbooth in the town’s Station Road with wife Kerry.
The couple have been warmly welcomed by customers and staff at the bar, which first opened its doors in April, 1992.
For Martin it is complete change of career, but one he has taken to immediately.
The 39-year-old explained: “It’s certainly different from my last job as psychiatric nurse, but after nearly two months I can honestly say it has been just great.
“I must admit, though, I was very apprehensive about being behind the bar for the first time.
“I need not have worried as both the staff and customers have made me feel very much at home.
“After nearly eight weeks I already feel like I am part of a good team.”
The reassuring news for the pub’s many regulars is that Aberdeen-born Martin is not intending to make major changes to the attractive, cosy interior of the popular hostelry.
He said: “Making changes just because we are new would not be clever, though I would like to make the best use of space available, but we’ll get well and truly bedded in before anything happens.”
Encouragingly for the regulars, the new owner is a good listener and has already promised that the establishment will continue its tradition of selling an extensive range of real ales.
He added: “I am happy to meet the demand for quality ales. I did not appreciate that real ale was quite so popular among the public, and not just confined to the older age groups.
“We’ll continue to offer the best for the best.”
Martin has already taken on board a commitment to stock sherry, meeting the requirement of a number of customers who have been surprised that their favourite tipple was not on offer.
He said: “What with Christmas coming up, it’s only right that we should have the widest range of drinks for sale. Sherry will definitely be served here.”
After only two months in one of the most popular hostelries in the North-east, Martin and Kerry have made their mark, demonstrating a willingness to make the Tolbooth an integral part of the Ellon community.
Martin said: “I’d like to think we are going to be contributors to Ellon’s social scene.”