Gamble paid off for new butcher’s as business grows

AT first glance opening a butcher’s shop might not be considered the best ever business decision.

Wednesday, 7th March 2012, 1:00 pm

There’s huge competition from giant one-stop-shop supermarkets and independent butcher’s shops have been closing in droves.

Not so for Dave Woods, 54, and his family at The Butcher’s, in the neighbourhood shopping centre off Lowther Road, in Dunstable.

Dave, his wife Fiona and their son, trainee butcher also called Dave, have been open now for 18 months and have seen both turnover and customer numbers increase in double figures in that time. Last year the shop won the Best New Business Award at the Rising Stars Bedfordshire and Luton Business Excellence Awards.

“It was a calculated gamble after we did the research,” said Dave. “People do not love the supermarkets but they love the convenience.”

So he and Fiona, who used to work as a regional manager for Thresher’s wine shops, determined to be relentless when it comes to customer care and quality. They’ve invested in regular re-painting and in new equipment.

Dave, who has been a butcher since leaving school, used to run the Matthews, later Dewhurst, butchers in Luton.

They’ve carried out leaflet drops in villages including Markyate and Kensworth, places from where normally you have to drive to access services anyway. Then they say they concentrate on delivering the quality, which includes the meat.

“I hang the meat for 21 days,” he said, adding that supermarket meat is left for much less time.

But a butcher’s life is not an easy one, meaning long and physical days. This, Dave said, may have been a reason for the closure of so many independent butcher’s in the past. But the fundamental businesses may not have been so doomed as many assumed.