Bexhill's one-man butchery carving a niche
BEXHILL butcher Matt McMinn had his work cut out for him after reopening the Bangalow Rd business in the village as a one-man butchery six months ago.
One of the biggest challenges was filling the shoes of the previous owners, who had run it in their family for the past 58 years.
Fortunately, the toiling butcher lives behind Quality Meats with his supportive wife Kerry and three daughters.
And he has no illusions about the work involved, working occasional 20-hour days to keep up with demand.
"I grew up old-school on a farm," said Mr McMinn, who was born in Lismore and raised at Bonalbo.
"I took this shop because it was a one-man, family-owned and operated business.
"On an average week I go through a good couple of hundred kilos of sausages That's not bad for a small shop.
"I think we've done close to two tonnes of meat mince in the last two weeks - I have a 200kg order."
Knowing that running a shop takes business sense as well as hard work these days, Mr McMinn has some long-term plans to market his butchery.
One plan is to position the shop as a gourmet sausage specialist because of his passion for creating tasty snags.
There's a pumpkin and fetta favourite, an Italian-style tomato onion and basil, and a classic lamb and rosemary he counts as winners.
He also does a lot of private butchery for local farmers, and has council approval for a new large cold room.
"We want to do a full home delivery service, that's the two-year goal," he said.
Another challenge for a small butchery, he said, was their reduced buying power which the big supermarkets, and butchers could leverage for cheaper prices.
But loyalty had won through more than just rock-bottom price tags, Mr McMinn said.
"I've got customers who come here from Pottsville, Federal, Casino," he said.
"They like to see fresh t-bone cut in front of them.
"I think it's all about that personal one-on-one service."