Good Meat comes from a Good Home

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There’s something about a good local butchery that inspires loyalty in customers, be it quality, service, point of difference or source. Warkworth Butchery believes it’s all the above but definitely has a lot to do with time! The store has been in the same location as a butchery for over 100 years, which is a magnificent feat to those who have run it and to those who have supported it.

The original store was one of Warkworth’s earliest, set up as Bowen’s General store before becoming a butchery in 1905 by T.F. Bray. It then passed to G. Guest in 1912 followed by the synonymous H. Stubbs in 1922 and the legacy of ‘Stubbs Butchery’ begins…

The butchery stayed in the Stubbs family for around 80 years, served by three generations of iconic members of both butchery and  the Warkworth township.

In 1931 the original butchery burnt to the ground but was swiftly rebuilt by the Stubbs family, which is the one we still see today. It is like a still shot from the 1930s, as you walk in. The craftsmanship of the building from the ceiling and fretwork to the tiles is nostalgic and “prompts yarns, myths and legends through the door and over the counter every other day,” says Rob Lees who took over the shop in 2014.

Rob said he relished the opportunity to take over the shop with such a strong history and says he’s very proud to now be part of it now. He stumbled upon it during a trip visiting his father, when they saw that the shop was due to close its doors (which it did for 3 months). He made a phone call which led to another and another and he couldn’t stop the momentum, so all of a sudden Rob and wife Renee upped their family from Christchurch and got stuck in to rebuilding the butchery back to its former glory. 

“Local customers seemed really keen for it to be part of the main street again,” recalls Rob. “They’d come in offering advice and opinions (both personal and business minded), as they seemed to have a sense of community ownership. It was pretty awesome!” 

Warkworth Butchery is positioned at the top end of the market, by having quality, consistency and doing the basic things right. The window display is nothing less than art, boasting everything they make onsite, having a smokehouse in-store allows them to make such a point of difference to everyday cuts plus creates an aroma loved by customers.

He applauds the effort that his customers make to shop here and judging by the testimonials from locals, they are equally full of praise for Rob and the team's service.

“In these times and this trade, it is hard to bend the trend regarding packaging,” he says. However, Warkworth Butchery are returning to traditional, minimal methods of packaging their products by using paper wrapping, sharing items by reducing bags and as most of their selections are fresh on the tray (not prepacked) they can achieve this. “We have a large customer base that bring in their own containers, jugs, jars, buckets, bins, bags or anything to put goods in other than single use bags,” observes Rob. By contrast the store is moving into the future with features such as their new ‘Click-and-Collect’ service which is available through their website. 

“Mixing the right amount of modern and tradition is key,” Rob added.

Their level of quality, service and advice should ensure this iconic butchery is here for a while yet.      

10 Queen Street, Warkworth

Susannah Marshall