Prime time for our top butcher, but who will be next?

Staff at Tulls Butchers in Wickham, former Butcher of the Year winners - from left: Mikey Jordan, Jake Chambers, Rob Holbrooke and owner Ben Sawyers Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150845-3)

AN AWARD-WINNING butcher has spoken of his firm’s ongoing success since winning The News Butcher of the Year competition.

Tulls Fine Foods in Wickham was crowned Butcher of the Year in 2015.

Fast forward two years and managing director Ben Sawyers has opened a second shop and built the confidence to rebrand.

On Monday, The News will reveal how you can submit an entry for the 2017 event and Ben urged our readers to get nominating.

He said: ‘We advertised ourselves as an award-winning company right away because it captures people’s interest and pulls them in the door.

‘After seeing us in The News people began popping in to check us out.

‘In the last two years we have opened a second shop, Harriet’s of West Meon, and we’re getting busier and busier which, in part, is due to the award.’

Ben became managing director at Tull’s almost five years ago.

He said: ‘I bought two shops but kept their names. I didn’t want to shock people or have them see it as a negative change.

‘Over the years we have built our reputation through excellent customer service.

‘A year after winning I started thinking about re-branding.’

In two weeks the shops will run under the new name Meon Valley Butchers.

Ben said: ‘It’s time we put our stamp on the business.

‘This also means that we can re-enter The News Butcher of the Year awards for 2017

‘After seeing what the win can do, we are definitely re-applying.’

The director said that he feels that the industry needs more recognition.

Ben added: ‘People need to support their local butcher and their local independents.

‘Sadly, convenience is the winning factor these days and our industry can never get enough recognition.

‘The awards are good for exposure and for getting more support. They show people how good you are at what you do.

‘My advice would be to let people know that you are in it and keep doing a good job. Look after people.

‘If you concentrate on customer service and quality, everything else will follow.’

n Don’t miss The News on Monday for the first chance to nominate your top local butcher.

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