Smith's Butchers and the Oven Door Bakery
Over lockdowns, family business Smith’s Butchers made a move in Market Street in Eastleigh town centre, relocating to a much bigger premises on the other side of the road where it could also house its own bakery The Oven Door.
Started by Les Smith, the business now involves three generations of his family and a team of experienced staff who between them run the shop and the commercial side of the company.
Frank, who is a familiar face behind the shop counter, said: “The bigger premises has made a huge difference and we’ve really noticed an increase in footfall. There’s space to display everything we do which is important to us as we pretty much make everything that we sell, including pies, 20 varieties of burger and 90 varieties of sausage.
“We get serious foodies who come in for the dry aged beef from the cabinet – a chap came in at Christmas and said it was the best bit of beef he’d ever had - but we also get lots of people who just want something nice for their dinner. Our 42 day dry aged Ashdale sirloin won best steak in Britain at the Great British Butcher’s Awards in 2019, which is some achievement for a little butcher’s from Eastleigh.
“People want to buy decent fresh local bread and high quality meat. We can trace the full welfare of our products and we’re all about that ‘field to fork’ experience.
“The Covid situation was tricky as there were lots of cost pressures and we could only have two staff members in the shop but we managed to remain open. The commercial business, which is always evolving and developing, fell off a cliff but the shop was always absolutely packed.
“People like the community and interaction of popping in and they’re more than customers to us – they’re friends. I worked in a town centre butcher in the 1980s and it’s funny how you sort of grow up with people and their families. You really do get to know them properly over the years.”