Local Women in Business: Part One

The 8th of March is International Women’s Day. We know there are a lot of days during the year dedicated to people, genders, countries, and topics. But we thought it would be nice to showcase some of our lovely female customers who wear our eyewear this month, to celebrate women in business. So, throughout March, we plan to introduce you to some local ladies and their businesses. The aim is to give you an insight into how they have coped and adapted during the pandemic, both within their working environments and personal lives.

In part one of a five-part blog, we spoke to one of our long-term customers, Sarah. Sarah owns and runs not one but two restaurants in Kibworth. Boboli in Kibworth Harcourt and the Lighthouse in Kibworth Beauchamp. While Boboli offers an extensive Italian menu, including salads, pizzas and pasta dishes, the Lighthouse is beloved for its delicious menu of seafood and meat dishes.

We’ve visited both local restaurants over the years and can recommend them both highly. Boboli is simple, wholesome Italian food, with some of the dishes taking on a modern twist. The popular local restaurant is open from 10 am and offers coffee and cake in the mornings, through to a three-course dinner in the evening and light bites throughout the day. Catering for the whole family, we love spending time in their delightful courtyard garden on a warm sunny summer evening. The Lighthouse offers an intimate, warm, and cosy dining experience. With an emphasis on fish and seafood, they offer special nights and fine dining for private functions.

The hospitality industry was one of the worst impacted by the pandemic. It’s been interesting to chat with Sarah and find out how she and her team have adapted and coped over the last two years.

But first a few questions to get to know Sarah:

Favourite place in the world

Miramont-de-Quercy, a place deep in South West France.

Favourite film

Like Water for Chocolate

Favourite food

Proper raw beef, Carpaccio with fresh truffle shavings and extra virgin olive oil.

Favourite colour

Tricky. I like bright colours. My favourite would probably be pink.

Favourite famous person who wears glasses

Ryan Reynolds or Lady Gaga

Famous person you would invite to a dinner party

Helen Mirren

How did the pandemic affect your business?

We endured horribly excessive closures with minimal support for us, the directors of the company. Which in turn demolished the reserves of the business and has left the company with “deferred” payments to repay and large loans to service.

How did you adapt your business to cope with covid restrictions?

Remarkably we worked tirelessly, initially only with two staff to launch an awesome and vibrant takeaway service. Our team rallied as and when they were permitted and commercially, we have more than survived.

Did the restrictions affect you personally?

Apart from the obvious social restrictions, and with family abroad, I think that I have become tougher commercially, personally it’s a strange combo! I vacillate between feeling more determined, resilient, and self-assured and then I have sudden bouts of fear, self-doubt, and utter exhaustion.

Has the effect of the last 2 years made you think differently about how you balance work and personal time?

In our industry this is a ceaseless battle anyway. However, in 2019 we had got the best balance that we had ever achieved. Whilst we strive to re-find the balance, the last two years have been the most intense we have ever experienced. This year we have planned more breaks in the hope of them coming to fruition. Ask me this question again in December!

We would like to thank Sarah for taking the time to answer our questions. We think it’s fair to say that Sarah, Lino, and their team have had a very tough time over the last couple of years. They’ve worked tirelessly to keep their business together, although it will probably take some years for them to fully recover financially. We’re glad they managed to come through it reasonably unscathed and have kept their team together to continue to serve people in our local area.

Please follow Sarah, Lino, and their team on Facebook @thelighthousekibworth.co.uk, and @bobolikibworth. You’ll find both eateries on Instagram @thelighthousekibworth and @bobolirestaurant. If you’re on Twitter, give them a follow @ourlighthouse @BoboliEngland.

Incidentally, Sarah’s daughter Elisa was part of the team that helped set up their successful takeaway service. Elisa, who has just achieved a distinction in her master’s degree, was our first employee here at Respectacle Company. In the next instalment of our blogs celebrating local women in business, you will get to meet the lovely lady who introduced us.


Further reading:

Spotlight on Market Harborough’s Independent Retail Scene: Part One

Spotlight on Market Harborough’s Independent Retail Scene: Part Two