The couple making 5,000 pigs in blankets at their new look Portsmouth butchersÂ

A FAMILY-RUN butchers has said business has never been better thanks to its major refit, rebrand and support from customers keen to enjoy a good quality Christmas dinner.Â

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 10:45 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:02 am
Karen and Paul Astle have run Real Country Butchers for 22 years and have recently had a refurbishment and name change to Astles of Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (180854-2624)

Astles of Portsmouth, formerly called Real Country Butchers, in Copnor Road, opened with a new look last month. 

Since then customers have been flocking to the butchers to get their hands on the quality meat on offer. 

The business is run by husband and wife team Paul and Karen Astle, from Southsea. 

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Astles of Portsmouth is based in Copnor, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (180854-2601)

Karen, 48, said: '˜We have been there for 22 years and felt that it was a good time to have a refit and a rebrand and make things more modern. 

'˜We have completely refitted and refurbished the shop. We have put in new counters, it's looking really modern with tiled walls and brick at the side.

'˜It has been amazing. Everyone loves the new look. We wanted to modernise but we were aware that we have people who have been coming in for years so we didn't want to alienate them, but they also love it.

'˜We have also noticed more younger people coming in. It has been a really positive reaction.' 

Karen and Paul Astle in Copnor, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (180854-2604)

The shop has been incredibly busy recently with many customers placing their Christmas orders, and Karen says they have been working until midnight to cope with the demand. 

They dealt with hundreds of turkeys and have even made 5,000 pigs in blankets. 

The whole family has been pitching in '“ along with hard-working team members Terry and Rob. 

Karen's dad Dermot McDonald, 83, from Southsea, often help at the shop, as do Karen and Paul's daughters Eloise, 24, and Isabelle, 21. 

Karen said: '˜It has been really busy. You hear so many bad stories about the struggling high street but it has been great to us. Our customers have been fantastic. It is going very well. 

'˜We get a lot of people coming to us at this time of year, saying they want to eat something good, but that should apply all year. People have the misconception that butchers are more expensive but when you look at the prices kilo for kilo then it's not that much different, plus we do lots of packs so people can bulk buy. 

'˜With us it's more personal '“ Paul remembers everybody's orders and people that like. People like the family touch.'