Introduce your business and tell us what you’ve been up to recently?
My business is a butcher’s called Albert Matthews. We have a stall on the World Famous Bury Market in Lancashire and a year ago set up a website selling our meat online across the UK.
What makes you different from other similar businesses in the area?
As well as the strong online presence and the ability to supply our meat around the UK we differentiate from other butchers in the area by focusing on quality and championing the best of British produce. The local sourcing policy we operate ensures we only try to use livestock from farms which are within a one hundred miles of the stall and are situated in AONBs (Area of outstanding Natural Beauty) which from Bury includes the Forest of Bowland, Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. We also favour using traditional British breeds such as Galloway, Hereford, Aberdeen Angus, Swaledale and Dalesbred. All these breeds are hardy to the British Climate and can be reared outdoors giving the meat lots of flavour.
What flexibility does being an independent business give you over a national chain / business?
Being relatively small gives us the chance to work very closely with our suppliers i.e. farmers to ensure we get the exact breed, weight and size of livestock we want. It also allows us to set up and try new ideas very quickly such as our Harrisa butterflied leg of Lamb which is part of our new BBQ range and now very popular.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for small businesses at the moment?
Inflation has been a big challenge for us over the last few years, meat prices have increased by over 30% in the last 5 years due to an increase in demand across the globe.
Looking back, which piece of advice would you give to somebody setting up their own business today?
Research the market you are going into in great depth. We are slowly coming out of recession but cash is still tight out there for the majority of consumers and businesses so you need to ensure you are either in an emerging market or have a good USP.
What part does Social Media play in your business?
An integral part of our strategy to grow the business. Food in general is massive on social media and to be able to tap into this audience and tell them what we are doing is very important.
And getting to know you and your Bury
If you had to sum up your town in one line, what would it be?
A traditional Northern Market town, full of strong personalities and proud of its heritage.
Where do you eat / take out in Bury?
Automatic Café in the centre of Bury
Which is your favourite pub or bar to drink at in Bury?
Eagle & Child Pub based down the road in Ramsbottom
Where is your essential must visit shop in?
Chadwick’s Bury Black Pudding stall (the original makers of Bury black pudding).
What’s been the most impressive new business you’ve seen open in Bury in the past 12 months?
Nothing in the last 12 months but we are working with the owner of a traditional town centre pub called the Clarence which is being renovated in the centre of Bury at the moment.
When it opens it is going to be serving fantastic large, dry aged steaks. It also has its own microbrewery.
Which local towns do feel Bury could learn from and why?
No specific towns as Bury is quite unique but I do think the local council needs to think very carefully about maximising the potential of the market now that markets have come back into favour again. You only have to look at Borough market in London to see the potential.
In an ideal world What major improvement would you like to see happen in Bury?
Free car parking!!! Footfall needs to be driven into the town, offering free parking or very low cost parking will help the town compete with out of town shopping centres such as the Trafford centre.
And if we want to look you up on Social Media what’s your facebook / twitter addresses?
Or the website at http://www.albertmatthews.com/