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Young local butchers champion quality produce

A NEW butcher shop in Howrah owned by a modern generation of butchers is taking the Eastern Shore by storm.

M&Js Butcher on Clarence, located at the former Gough Butchers’ site in Clarence Street, recently celebrated its second anniversary and in a very short time has developed a strong and loyal customer base.

Matthew Hansson, 35, and business partner Jason Nichols, 28, have introduced a new experience for their customers by providing not only average cuts of meat such as chops, legs of lamb and sausages, but also a complete range of ready-to-cook options.

After their training, both men undertook their apprenticeships at Vermey’s Quality Meats in Sandy Bay and have learnt their craft well and truly at the coalface.

Mr Hansson, who is married to Alicia and together have a young son, Riley, 18 months, started his apprenticeship in butchering in 2001.

He finished high school at Rokeby High and went on to Rosny College.

Mr Nichols studied at the Hutchins School and started his apprenticeship in 2008.

They soon teamed up and decided to open their own business.

As young butchers, Mr Hansson and Mr Nichols said they were constantly on the lookout for what was new, while at the same time providing some of the classics their customers demand.

“We are so fortunate that the industry in Tasmania boasts world-class quality meat so it is not difficult to source the best quality product,” they said.

The pair is also providing a great training ground for other young people who want to enter the industry.

“We feel it is important to train people from the ground up,” Mr Hansson and Mr Nichols said.

“We teach them skills in-house to complement what they are learning at TAFE,” they said.

“We hire on attitude and then help by teaching those important practical skills in a shop environment.”

Mr Hansson and Mr Nichols said they chose the Goughs’ site for their location for quite specific reasons.

“The parking, the location and the feel of the shop was really important to us,” they said.

“We did not go looking on the Eastern Shore as such but we knew we wanted our own business.

“When we saw the shop and its location and talked to John Gough the landlord, it all fell into place from there.”

Both agree that having the site as a former successful butcher shop has worked in their favour.

“It has that community charm, and the feeling of the good old days and because it’s been a butcher site for many years, it is very familiar to local people,” they said.

“John Gough fondly says when he sees 18-month-old Riley visit the shop that he can still recall going to see his dad at the shop when he was a toddler,” they said.

“The Goughs are great and had a fantastic business for a long time. We feel fortunate to be able to carry on the legacy.”

As well as selling traditional meat and meat products, the business stocks homemade pies, daily fresh fish, dairy products in Tasmanian milk, eggs and cheese, and more recently, a range of fresh vegetables from local farmers.

There is also an extensive range of condiments such as sauces and relishes primarily sourced from Tasmanian manufacturers.

“We are really pleased with the latest additions, particularly the vegetables, as it is just making it so much easier for customers to call in on the way home, grab whatever they need and all within the one location,” Mr Hansson and Mr Nichols said.

“We also need to maintain the staple items and keep providing the classics,” they said.

“We have such great meat in Tasmania and we are fortunate it is not difficult to maintain quality which is what customers come back for.

“All in all, we are happy with how the business is going and the fantastic support we are receiving from local shoppers and people coming to the Eastern Shore to find us. We could not ask for more.”

Caption: Howrah’s new young butchers Matthew Hansson, left, and business partner Jason Nichols have introduced an innovative one-stop shopping experience for their customers on the Eastern Shore.