Monday, 23 October 2017

Villagers thanked for support after burglary

THE new owners of Goring’s butchers shop say strong trade over Christmas helped the business to recover following a burglary.

THE new owners of Goring’s butchers shop say strong trade over Christmas helped the business to recover following a burglary.

Thieves broke into Goring Village Butchers in November last year and stole thousands of pounds’ worth of meat and specialist knives.

They struck just 12 days after Nigel Levy and his wife Christine bought the premises, which were previously known as Simmons and Son.

The incident cost the couple more than £10,000 as the burglars smashed the front door off its hinges and vandalised the inside of the shop.

However, they say villagers have supported them by becoming regular customers so they are confident that their venture will succeed.



The pair live in Tilehurst with their son Ryan, 18, and daughter Natasha, 14, both of whom help in the shop from time to time.

Mr Levy, 52, grew up in Reading and learned his trade at Smithfield Market in London about 30 years ago. His wife grew up in Crays Pond.

He has managed several butchers shops and was most recently operations manager for a large catering butchers in Bracknell.

This is the first business that he and his wife have owned.

They have expanded the shop’s range to include fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked meats, deli goods and pies and pasties.

The fruit and vegetables come from Covent Garden while Mr Levy gets his meat from both Smithfield and local suppliers.

He said: “I’d always wanted to have my own shop and this was the first time I’d seen one for sale in the local area.

“We looked and thought it looked a bit run down but we really felt we could make a decent go of it.

“I think Goring is a great place and has been crying out for a business of the kind we’re trying to achieve here.

“The trade was pretty dead when we took over but within a couple of months we’ve really turned it around.”

Mr Levy said the burglary was a “real kick in the teeth” and he and his wife had to take money from their savings to restock in time for Christmas.

He said: “We still don’t know the final cost because there are still repair bills coming in.

“We’re obviously insured but that’s going to take a while to come through and it only covers the things we brought with us.

“We lost three days’ trade while the police investigated and we cleaned up, then we had to invest in a new alarm and electronic shutters.

“The police picked up some fingerprints but they haven’t got any further in finding anyone. I think they’ve done all they can now.”

However, Mr Levy said sales over Christmas had exceeded his expectations.

He said: “I had a target in my head that I was hoping to hit and we managed to double that, so I was very pleased.

“We had people catering for 30 or 40 people so I was taking orders of £400 or £500 at a time. The trade has just been absolutely fantastic.

“Even in the days between Christmas and the New Year, there were lots of people coming in.

“In a strange kind of way, the break-in helped as it made people aware that we’d taken over and they wanted to see what we were doing.

“We’re here for the long-term and have very quickly built a good relationship with our clientele, who’ve been very kind to us.

“People are so pleased to have a shop that sells more than just meat. It means they don’t have to drive out of town for fresh fruit and veg.”

The couple intend to fully refurbish the interior of the shop and expand their range further.

Mr Levy said he was not concerned by Tesco’s plans to open an Express store at the former Queen’s Arms pub in Reading Road.

These were announced just over a year ago and are now the subject of a planning appeal which is due to be decided later this year.

Mr Levy said: “Everyone knows the power of Tesco but I don’t believe it will affect the trade I’m building as people are very loyal.

“Many customers have already become personal friends, which is what we were aiming for.

“Goring is a close-knit community and that allows you to offer that level of personal service.”

The shop’s previous owner Charlie Simmons had run it for about 20 years.

[BLOB] The break-in happened between midday on November 22 and 6.30am on November 24.

It is believed that the culprits escaped in a vehicle they parked behind the premises.

Anyone with information should call Thames Valley Police’s non-emergency number 101.



ENDS



with pic 1501001

THE new owners of Goring’s butcher’s shop say strong trade over Christmas helped the business to recover from a burglary.

Raiders stole thousands of pounds’ worth of meat and specialist knives in a burglary at Goring Village Butchers in November.

The break-in happened only 12 days after Nigel Levy and his wife Christine had bought the premises, which were previously known as Simmons & Son.

It cost the couple more than £10,000 as the burglars smashed the front door and vandalised the shop’s interior.

But they say villagers have supported them by becoming regular customers so they are confident that their new venture will succeed. The couple live in Tilehurst with their son Ryan, 18, and daughter Natasha, 14, who both help in the shop from time to time.

Mr Levy, 52, grew up in Reading and learned his trade at Smithfield Market in London about 30 years ago. He has managed several butcher’s shops and was most recently operations manager for a large catering butchers in Bracknell.

The couple have expanded the shop’s range to include fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked meats, deli goods and pies and pasties. The fruit and vegetables come from Covent Garden while Mr Levy gets his meat from both Smithfield and local suppliers.

He said: “I’d always wanted to have my own shop and this was the first time I’d seen one for sale in the area.

“We looked and thought it looked a bit run down but we really felt we could make a decent go of it. I think Goring is a great place and has been crying out for a business of the kind we’re trying to achieve here.

“The trade was pretty dead when we took over but within a couple of months we’ve really turned it around.”

Mr Levy said the burglary was a “kick in the teeth” and he and his wife had to dip into their savings to restock in time for Christmas.

He said: “We still don’t know the final cost because there are still repair bills coming in. We’re obviously insured but that’s going to take a while to come through and it only covers the things we brought with us.

“We lost three days’ trade while the police investigated and we cleaned up, then we had to invest in a new alarm and electronic shutters.”

Mr Levy said sales over Christmas had exceeded his expectations.

He said: “The trade has just been absolutely fantastic. We had people catering for 30 or 40 people so I was taking orders of £400 or £500 at a time. Even in the days between Christmas and the New Year, there were lots of people coming in.

“I had a target in my head that I was hoping to hit and we managed to double that, so I was very pleased.

“In a strange kind of way, the break-in helped as it made people aware that we’d taken over and they wanted to see what we were doing.

“We’re here for the long-term and have very quickly built a good relationship with our clientele, who’ve been very kind to us.

“People are so pleased to have a shop that sells more than just meat. It means they don’t have to drive out of town for fresh fruit and veg.” The couple intend to refurbish the interior of the shop and expand their range further.

Mr Levy said he was not concerned by Tesco’s plan to open an Express store at the former Queen’s Arms pub in Reading Road.

That is now the subject of a planning appeal which is due to be decided later this year.

He said: “Everyone knows the power of Tesco but I don’t believe it will affect the trade I’m building as people are very loyal.

“Many customers have already become personal friends, which is what we were aiming for. Goring is a close-knit community and that allows you to offer that level of personal service.”

The break-in happened between noon on November 22 and 6.30am on November 24. It is believed that the culprits escaped in a vehicle they had parked behind the premises. Anyone with information should call Thames Valley Police’s non-emergency number, 101.

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