Butcher, baker, candlestick maker: The businesses flying high post-pandemic

Jamie Archer with his gold award winning Chilli sausages. Picture: Denise Bradley

Jamie Archer with his gold award winning Chilli sausages. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

The woes of the high street are well recorded - but it is the business cornerstones of ages gone by which are making a comeback during the pandemic. 

Butchers, bakers and indeed candlestick makers, have all reported a boom in lockdown, with demand increasing by as much as 10 times. 

The driver, they say, is shoppers spending more time to think about where their money is going and the products they are consuming. 

This has been a major trend at Archer's Butchers which has been in operation since 1929, but has seen some of its busiest months during lockdown. 

Owner Jamie Archer said: "We really saw a massive boom in our online business during lockdown as you would expect, and we also started offering deliveries which was a learning curve. 


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"Something which has been really popular is meat boxes, where people can choose to buy a package of products and know they can feed their family for a week. I think it's offering people that convenience while they know they are getting really high quality meat from close by.

Jamie Archer from Archer's Butchers celebrating their success in the national Q Guild sausage compet

Jamie Archer from Archer's Butchers celebrating their success in the national Q Guild sausage competition. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

"Something which has also always been very important to me is keeping our carbon footprint down as much as possible. That means sourcing meat locally but also knowing that the welfare of the animals is paramount. 

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"Looking at trends like veganism and Veganuary we don't actually see that much impact - in fact we had an increase in demand in January. What it does show us is that people are thinking more about where their food is coming from. I absolutely support the idea that we need to be conscious of what we consume and where we get it from."

The Plumstead Road-based butcher added: "We'll always have a high street as well as an online presence. What I'd absolutely love to see is a return of the smaller, independent businesses to city centre high streets. The sort of thing you see on the continent with really high quality butchers and bakers on the main drags."

One business which already has a presence on a city centre high street is the Two Magpies Bakery, which as well as having sites in Darsham, Southwold and Aldeburgh, also has a shop in Norwich's Timberhill. 

General manager Yasmin Wyatt said that having an independent on the high street created a hub for the local community: "We have people who come into our shops two or three times a day - and we know what they're going to order before they're even through the door. You don't get that in many places. 

Two Magpies co-owner Steve Magnall has hit out at the government's approach to the coronavirus outbr

Two Magpies co-owner Steve Magnall has hit out at the government's approach to the coronavirus outbreak Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

"It's certainly been a challenging year - we've had to adapt to opening and closing and opening again as much as we can. But we've definitely seen a shift in people shopping local and as a result have even launched new offerings like cheese and fresh fruit and veg in some of our shops."

Candlestick maker The Norfolk Candle Company has been running for more than 30 years, but has never seen a year quite like the past 12 months. 

Owner Tim Scales, who runs the business out of Haddiscoe alongside wife Judith, said: "When we started we did a lot of our business through craft fares. We always had an online presence as we felt it was important from the start, but selling through eBay and Amazon has just taken over now. 

Rebecca Bishop and Steve Magnall have opened another branch of their Two Magpies bakery in Darsham

Rebecca Bishop and Steve Magnall have opened another branch of their Two Magpies bakery in Darsham Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

"As well as a shift to online - which has had its challenges given how much postage prices have gone up - we've also changed some of our suppliers due to Brexit. 

"Previously we had a lot of suppliers on the continent but when the decision was made to leave the EU we thought it would just be more hassle than it was worth. We still have one supplier in Italy but other than that important supplies or exporting goods is just too complicated. 

"People have also changed what they're buying during the pandemic. Wax melts and supplies to other candle makers have gone up tenfold, for example. That's because a lot of people are getting more into crafts but also people are trying to earn a bit of money on the side by making their own."


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