Butchers see ‘mini boom’ as shoppers opt for local meat in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:09 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 22 April 2020

Richard Gill, a butcher in Downham Market. Pic: Archant

Richard Gill, a butcher in Downham Market. Pic: Archant

Butchers in Norfolk are seeing sales spike because of coronavirus as the demand for local produce delivered to your door rockets.

With many of the big supermarkets struggling to cope people are turning to traditional butchers.

Some butchers even believe the new business is enough to revive the high street when coronavirus is over.

But one, Archer’s in Thorpe, Norwich has been so busy, they’re unable to take any more online orders and have needed to close for a week to give staff a break.

Sam Papworth, butcher. Pic: ArchantSam Papworth, butcher. Pic: Archant

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Richard Gill, who runs his own butcher’s in the high street in Downham Market, a shop he took over in 2012 being the fourth generation butcher in his family, said his sales have doubled since lockdown.

“It has been at a manic level, just so busy, I’ve had a lot of new customers trying to avoid the queues in the supermarket and then they find the flavour of the meat I sell is so much better. Many are buying joints for a Sunday roast, comfort food, and have more time to cook at home. When coronavirus is over, I think people’s lifestyle will mean I lose some of those customers again but if I could keep even 5-10% of them, it would be fantastic.

Coxford's butchers in Aylsham. Pic: ArchantCoxford's butchers in Aylsham. Pic: Archant

“I think it is going to revive the high street. A lot of other local shops can’t open right now but people really do seem to want to support us.”

Johnny Payne, who runs Coxfords butchers in Aylsham with Jason Gibbons, said they are no longer taking website or social media orders because of the demand – but are asking people to ring them through. They are working around the clock to deliver when they can on the same day.

Mr Payne said: “We are seeing business increase by 30%, possibly more.”

Sam Papworth, a butcher with the Papworth Farms family firm of shops in Fakenham, North Walsham, Swaffham and Sheringham, said they had enjoyed a “mini boom” especially over Easter.

Jason Gibbons and Johnny Payne at Coxford's butchers, Aylsham. Pic: ArchantJason Gibbons and Johnny Payne at Coxford's butchers, Aylsham. Pic: Archant

The firm has stepped up home deliveries and are allowing one person into their shops at a time.

“People want to look after themselves while at home so they are cooking more and eating good quality meat. We’re finding people are spending more than they do usually,” he said.

At Archer’s, Plumstead Road, they closed this week to give staff a break. They posted on their website: “We regret that due to the extremely high number of online orders we have received we are now at the limit of our production capacity.”

The shop plans to re-open next Tuesday.

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