Member Feature - Walker & Walker
Husband and wife, Kev & Verity Walker are the proud owners of Walker & Walker butchers in their home village of Woodhall Spa, which specialises in selling ‘genuine’ locally produced beef, lamb and pork through buying direct from Lincolnshire Farmers and then freshly butchering on site.
Their charming tale to success began when the Walkers felt the need to save a beautiful little butchers from becoming a fast food outlet or a coffee shop in their village.
Despite having no butchery skills, with Vanessa having worked most of her life up to then as an Estate Agent and Kev working in Sales, they decided to purchase the property, make it their own and give butchering a go.
The previous shop had ran as a butchers for as long as they remember, so they were keen to continue that trade and were confident the shop would thrive as a traditional family butchers with a friendly feel.
To ensure happy customers, and to ensure it stood out, Kev and Verity made sure they only sourced produce within a 25 mile radius, enabling them to supply the community with quality produce with genuine and traceable provenance.
Meet the Walker and Walker team;
Verity is responsible for the day to day running of the business.
Kev still works fulltime in the automotive industry but is likely to be seen in the shop at weekends.
Trevor – their highly skilled butcher brings a wealth of knowledge and skills which he incorporates into his work every day.
Beth – Verity’s best friend supports and assists in the smooth running of the day to day business, whilst ensuring all high standards are maintained.
Jack – works as an Apprentice, and has been with the business for about 2 years. He loves learning new skills and it was actually Jacks haslet that recently won CHAMPION in the recent Lincolnshire Poacher Awards.
As all new start-up businesses, Kev and Verity were faced with an abundance of challenges when trying to get the store off the ground. This mainly included revamping the look of the building, replacing and building display units and updating all the equipment.
Through perseverance, in the first month they managed to raise the hygiene rating to a high score of 5 – something which they work obsessively hard to maintain.
☆☆☆Awards won up to now☆☆☆
Up to now, Walkers & Walkers have received multiple awards which include;
- Awards for their Lincolnshire sausage both nationally and locally.
- Runners up in the Bets New Butchers UK-2015 – a national competition run by the Meats Trade Journal
- Won CHAMPION in this year’s Lincolnshire Poacher Awards
Select Lincolnshire recently caught up with Walker & Walker Butchers, and here’s what they had to say;
Do you participate in any local events to showcase your products?
“We are especially supportive of our Local “Christmas Market” every year which is run by our local Rotary club and again in summer we are delighted to support the superb 1940’s weekend that Woodhall has become famous for”.
What do you think is the hardest part of running a business?
“I would have to say getting the right team together that held similar ideals and understood what we were trying to do was certainly one of the biggest tasks. We are proud to say that I firmly believe we have now achieved that”.
Which local producers do you use and why?
“We source our produce from several excellent farmers. When available we always go to Michael Read for our Lincoln Red Beef, Michael is known nationally for his award winning herd, and it is always something special when we have his beef”.
“We also work with Paul and Sarah Ashcroft of Langworth who supply us with their much prized (and very popular) rare breed Berkshire Black pork as well as the occasional Longhorn beef”.
“Our Lamb is sourced from several local suppliers including Mr Martin Brown of West Ashby. Who is very proud of his superb flock of Dartmoor White faced sheep”.
Who are your food champions?
“We are really lucky to count Eric & Beth Phipps as friends as well as mentors, it was Eric, as far as we are concerned who set the level of food quality and standards in the county that we aim to emulate. We also look to Jim Sutcliffe at Meridian Meat who we also admire and have a great relationship with”.
What do you most enjoy about the business and what makes it all worth it?
“We are constantly amazed and delighted at how many people choose to travel to us from across the county as well as our locals because they too believe in what we are doing and we love to see them. We try and instil a friendly, relaxed atmosphere where customers are confident to ask questions about the provenance of the meat, cooking methods and ideas”.
“It is always good to be recognised for your efforts such as winning the various awards, however we all feel especially proud when our customers come back to us to say how pleased they were with their last purchase. That honestly means more to us”.