My First Shop
My first love was always farming, but at the age of twelve my dad suggested butchery, so I started as a Saturday boy in a local perth shop.
After finishing school I went to serve my apprenticeship in the shop as a career. In 1986, at the age of 19, I was able to get enough money together to open my very own, very small, shop then away I went. I bought my first shop in Dunning for two thousand one hundred pounds, it was a sum of money at the time, but I doubt I'd be able to get much of a shop for that nowadays. That first day of running my own business was wonderful and I still remember my very first customer, Mrs Lawson (7.30am , 16th December 1986).
My First Staff Member
My first staff member started the following year, Jim Park, and we are still working together to this day. Jim often jokes that we now make more sausages in an hour than we did in a month.
I spent most of my spare time in those early years trying to source the top animals in Scotland to try and get a name for myself as the best butcher with the best Scottish beef. I focussed on local producers and my knowledge of farming proved invaluable. It took a little time, but soon people were travelling from Perth and the local villages and even Edinburgh to buy their meat from a small country butchers rather than the much bigger retailers.
As we started to gain a name for our produce and expertise, we began to expand and I was able to get another local shop in Perth, the very same shop I'd worked as a Saturday boy all those years earlier.
From one shop to several, from supplying local restaurants to the best in Scotland and eventually to where we are now. However, our tradition and heritage doesn't mean we are not looking forwards, expanding our knowledge and trying to be as innovative as possible. It’s important for me to always look to the future, with farming you've got to think about the coming seasons and the challenges that will bring. In my business, I try to stay one step ahead, which can only be achieved by developing your ideas and listening to your customers.
It can be nice to take a look back once in a while though.