Brett Smith is the owner of the People Bar, Cleethorpes.
What’s your background?
I was actually born in Cleethorpes, but moved to the big city to study Law in Manchester. I thought that’s where I wanted to be – where things were happening that were important to me – social life, great music scene and fantastic food.
I stayed away after graduating, but fell out of love with law and went into the international recruitment scene. It sounds glamorous, recruiting for Brazil one day, Dubai the next, but after seven years, I wanted a new challenge.
I was brought up in a family that loved its food – no shop bought tomato ketchup or lasagne for us – we had to make our own. With my dad being a qualified chef, and my uncle running various places, we were surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life in a busy kitchen. So the new challenge became running my own place; bringing a little bit of the city into my own bar and restaurant, and where better to do it than Cleethorpes.
How do you feel about the area now?
When I moved away, I thought that was it, that I’d left Cleethorpes behind for good. Maybe I didn’t see what was in front of my nose at the time, but I didn’t think I’d ever come back. But growing up through university and work, and regularly visiting home, I saw how the town has developed and now I love it. To see the development in Cleethorpes is great – we’re so far in front of other seaside towns.
What’s the best thing the area has to offer the people who are moving here?
This has to be the mix of what’s on offer locally. If you go to new places, you often go for a single reason – maybe you want to experience life in a music town, for example, so you move to Camden or Liverpool. But for me, I wanted a nice lifestyle, music, culture and great food and drink at a price where I can feel like I’m getting more for my money.
For me, Cleethorpes is ideal. You can have a modern city lifestyle here in Cleethorpes – you can make a career here and have the social life, and I can enjoy the great fashion in the independent retailers and fantastic food in modern premises. For me, Cleethorpes ticks all the boxes. It’s a real hidden gem.
What hobbies or outdoor activities do you enjoy?
At the moment, the thought of having time outside my businesses is a luxury. When you set up something new like this, your life is dominated by two things, work and sleep. However, I must confess, I’m looking forward to bring up a family here in the future, and I’ve already signed up for the Notts Football team. That should keep me busy for a while!
What do you think the future holds?
For me, the immediate future is working on building the business and contributing to the vibrancy that I see in Cleethorpes nowadays. It’s a great place, we just need to tell more people about it.