George Clark and Paul White. Photo (c) eBay
George Clark and Paul White. Photo (c) eBay

A bar owner from Liverpool has converted an old ambulance into a mobile bar, winning a £10,000 cash prize.

Paul White, 44, from Wavertree, has won eBay’s Van Conversion of the Year Award with his ‘AmBEERlance’. It took Paul four days to convert the ex-emergency services vehicle into a fully functioning mobile bar.

Paul worked in the hospitality industry for over 30 years before opening his own business, located at Penny Lane, with his wife Clare.

Following the closure of their bar, The Doghouse, due to restrictions during the pandemic, they were both left questioning their future.

However, Paul had an idea: ​​”I still remember sitting in the bar with a lot of our regulars on the day Boris announced the first lockdown.

“When the announcement happened, I felt physically sick and my first thought was my staff; how would I be able to continue to support my staff, their kids and family whilst the business was closed?

“Lockdown also allowed me to spend some much needed time with Clare and Jack, our dog. Regular, once a day walks helped clear the mind and get the creative juices flowing: If our regulars can’t come to us, we will go to them!

Paul’s AmBEERlance project took just four days to complete. It was delivered on a Monday, and it had reservations for the weekend, “so it had to be done.”

Paul added: One thing you couldn’t get in lockdown was freshly-pulled pints, so the van allowed us to visit our regulars, while spreading a bit of joy.

It also allowed us to pay our staff in ful. It kept us afloat – we wouldn’t have survived without it.”

Indeed, according to the Office for National Statistics, in June 2021 spending in the hospitality industry remained at less than 70% of pre-pandemic levels, and the entire industry suffered. Businesses went under and declared bankruptcy, despite the government’s attempts to help the industry with their ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme which was available during August 2020, from Monday to Wednesday each week.

After the pandemic, the AmBEERlance continues to be in great demand.

I didn’t think that we would utilise the AmBEERlance, but I was wrong. Birthdays are regular and parents wanting to buy their 18-year-old their first legal drink.

“The AmBEERlance is no longer just a beer delivery service. This has given us a business, a lifeline during Covid and an added asset and way of sharing The Doghouse love far and wide!

Paul’s wife Clare applied to the awards on his behalf as she felt that he deserved recognition for his work during Covid.

This was the first year of eBay’s Van Conversion of the Year’s Awards. The judging panel consisted of TV presenter and architect George Clarke and eBay’s Vehicle Parts and Accessories Category Lead Laura Richards.

There were hundreds of entries, ranging from tradesmen transformations to the most chic campervan conversions. The runners-up received £250 worth of accessories and spare parts from eBay.

He hasn’t gone over-the-top

George Clarke said: “The story of Paul’s conversion really stood out for me. It’s quite amazing how a simple, humble van can actually save a business and the staff’s livelihood.

“He hasn’t gone over-the-top, he kept it functional, getting what he needed from eBay and having it up and running and serving the community in just four days, which is amazing!”

Laura Richards added: “We’ve loved going through all the entries.

“Paul’s was extremely impressive in terms of becoming a functional and successful business. It’s great to see how eBay’s range and speed of delivery has been part of his story.”

Before selecting the overall winner, eBay’s judging panel narrowed it down to seven stand-out van conversions, including Paul’s, from several categories.

Paul has invested his winnings back into his business.

Watch Ruby Smith’s video report here:

Feature photo (c) eBay


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