Butchery given new lease on life
FOR YEARS, the butcher shop near the old Albion Hotel has remained dormant. But now, a little bit of life has returned to the store with owner Greg Whalen opening the doors of the refurbished butchery once again.
Before the days of health regulations, Mr Whalen owned and operated the same shop, but when the new regulations came in, the cost of upgrading the shop was just too much.
Now, with a fresh coat of paint and new equipment, business has been booming for his first few weeks Mr Whalen said.
"I've been slowly putting stuff into (the shop) and now I've decided to give it another crack,” he said.
"There are a lot of houses out past this way, so I've decided to give it a go and it's paying off real well.”
Since he closed the butcher shop in the past, he's been working in other butcher shops, learning more and picking up a few more tricks.
"I was also doing a bit of home killing, which is basically why I wanted to open the shop back up, I wanted to open it up from the home kills to private kills, so I've got that market,” he said.
"I didn't realise this was going to kick off as good.”
Mr Whalen has been a butcher since he was 16, and opened the shop for the first time in 1989.
"it was an old style shop, no one knew about health regulations back then, everything was wood and cast iron,” he said.
"I've had to buy a new mincer and a new saw, everything had to be stainless steel and no wood where you are cutting up.”
Mr Whalen said he didn't want to close the shop in the first place and he's glad he finally got the doors open again.
"With a young family and a mortgage, I didn't want to get another mortgage, but I didn't want to work for anyone else,” he said.
"We paid off the house and the kids all left home and this is like my super.
"There is a back area I want to do up later on, but I didn't know how this would take off.”
He said he couldn't have reopened the shop without the help of his family.
"I'd like to thank my wife Kate and my daughters Kristen, Brooke and Tayla, I couldn't have done it without them, and the people who got behind me on Facebook,” he said.
"And my mate Mark Hollett who helped spruce up the front of the shop.”
Whalen's Meats is at 205 Queen St, Grafton.