Local butchers feeling the love returning

Local butchers feeling the love returning

Coronavirus
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The coronavirus outbreak has seen a swift shift in red meat buyer habits with local butchers the beneficiaries.

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A week's worth of turnover in one day was the result of the impact of the caronavirus Covid 19 on people's meat buyer practices.

That was the experience for Pyrenees Premium Cuts butchers, James and Hayley Collicoat, this week.

The couple operate two butcher shops - at Avoca and Maryborough.

Mr Collicoat said the signs were there last Friday with a slow build up, but the real explosion of demand was on Monday.

He said that only having his normal weekly supply of around five bodies in the shop, he was "out" by Monday night.

"I had to give our supplier of cattle a frantic call for more supply," he said.

Mr Collicoat said his lamb demand was around eight to 10 carcases, but more beef, sausages and smallgoods.

He said the first four customers on Monday were from Melbourne including a some that came just to buy meat.

He said the region's reputation for wines and food attracted people.

"It's hard to know whether to get excited about it, but I guess it will eventually return to normal," he said.

Normal sales of plain sausages was around 300-400 kilograms. "We've doubled that this week already," he said.

He said the supply depended on the abattoir staying open.

"We supply the local nursing home and they need their meat," he said.

He said there were a lot of new customers coming through the door.

"We have a second store in Maryborough and that had probably the most new customers because supermarket shelves there were empty," he said.

"That flowed over to us and hopefully we can keep those people and get them to come back.

"Time will tell what happens. It'll be a lot of hours in the shop."

He said there were seven staff between the two shops who were flat out.

"We've had to turn some away and ask them to put in an order for later in the week because we can't be cutting and serving at the same time," he said.

The business did its own smallgoods and sold into the Melbourne market via the tourist market travelling through the town.

Mr Collicoat said the short term was good for butcher shops with new customers coming through, but the long term was still "up in the air".

The local supplier of cattle provided a great selection of quality mainly Angus with some Herefords.

Mr Collicoat said he left the selection of suitable animals to the producer.

"As long as it's well finished and top quality, I don't mind," he said.

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