Norwich butcher’s plea to use him or lose him

Norwich butcher Nigel Harvey. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich butcher Nigel Harvey. Photo: Steve Adams

A famous family-run butcher's shop which has been established in Norwich since 1924 has issued a plea to customers to either 'use us or lose us' after being hit hard in the economic downturn.

Harvey's began in Tombland in 1924 under Reginald Harvey, was taken on by his son Robert in 1947, and is now run, after a move to Grove Road in 1985, by his son, Nigel, who joined the company in 1966 and has run the shop since 1970.

Now 64, Nigel Harvey has issued an appeal for customers to back the business, or else risk losing it.

He said: 'It's partly a plea and partly a warning - use or lose us. We may not be here this time next year.

'Despite being in Norwich since 1924 we are finding times are getting harder, and like many local shops it's difficult.

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'Most of us use supermarkets for convenience but unless you support your locals shops, we will disappear.'

He said their problems had intensified recently, adding: 'Over the last six months we have lost a lot of wholesale trade, which used to contribute about half of our turnover.

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'To retain our five members of staff we really need our customers to help us out on the retail side.

'There's no reason why people should buy meat from supermarkets, where it's less good quality and more expensive.'

He said about 35pc of the butchers that were in Norfolk 20 years ago are no longer operating.

'That's down to lots of reasons, including people retiring and young people not coming into the industry.

'The situation we are in now is despite us selling the best of locally-supplied organic meat and game with total traceability of farms, farmers and breeds at less cost than major supermarkets and by skilled trained staff that hang and butcher to the highest standards.

'While we have many regular customers, some of them just come to us once a year at Christmas for something special. We need to encourage customers to become more regular meat buyers. And we need people to tell other people about our appeal, to help us be here much longer.'

For a special feature on local shopping in our Love Local campaign see tomorrow's paper.

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