Newtownabbey butchers thank customers as they celebrate 25 years
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The Butchers Monkstown opened in 1998 and has been serving the local community for a quarter of a century.
Located at Jennings Park, the business is headed by husband and wife team Raymond and Laura Millar.
The shop, which employs a full-time butcher, an apprentice, four part-time members of staff, as well as the couple, was started by Raymond’s parents Raymond senior and Esme, before Raymond junior and Laura took over four years ago.
The couple, originally from Lisburn, relocated the shop from number 7 Jennings Park to number 1 earlier this year after the unit became available. They offer a range of meat, baked goods from suppliers including French Village and Rosebud Bakes, as well as fresh food options.
Speaking to this newspaper, Laura said: “We’ve loved being part of the community for 25 years and enjoy seeing customers who have been coming to the shop for ages, as well as meeting new customers.
"It’s been an exciting time for us as we recently picked up the Gold Award for the best butcher in the Retail NI High Street Heroes Awards 2023, as well as getting bronze in the Best Deli/Bakery category.
"A mural was recently commissioned by Antrim and Newtownabbey Council at the side of the shop and it’s really helping to brighten up the area. We’re hoping to introduce an outdoor sitting area here too.
"We’ve also been in touch with Invest NI about the possibility of getting our sausages into retail outlets. The application process closed last week and we should find out in the New Year if we have been successful.
"Raymond makes a variety of flavours of sausage including his famous Christmas sausage, made with stuffing and cranberry sauce, as well as curry flavoured sausages and cabbage and bacon.
"He aims to please the customers and has even taken requests for sausage flavours.
"With this week being our 25th anniversary, we have lots of offers running in-store, including on our meats and deli goods until Saturday."
During the pandemic, the Millars transformed the way they catered for their customers, launching an app and online order service, with many people still availing of this today.
Laura explained: “Covid was a crazy time for us. We launched an app and a website, allowing people to pre-order their goods as well as providing a delivery service, which is helping residents who have mobility issues or people who can’t leave the house.
“Our customers are part of our family and we want to do what we can to make the whole experience as easy as possible for them."
Thanking the people who have backed the business, Laura added: “We’d like to say a huge thanks to every customer. A lot of people don’t realise what goes on in the background and the costs involved in trying to keep a business operational.
"Whether someone’s making a big order or not spending much, it all helps, and we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support we receive from the community.
"Our customers are at the heart of what we do and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”
For more information, check out the business’ Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or website