Sunday, 22 September 2019

Family butcher taken over by former member of staff

Family butcher taken over by former member of staff

A BUTCHER is now running the shop where he learned his trade as a teenager.

Roland Hazell has taken charge of the former Jennings Butchers in St Martin’s Precinct in Caversham, two years after he returned there to work behind the counter.

The 55-year-old has renamed the business the Caversham Butcher, redecorated the interior of the shop and extended its opening hours so that it now trades seven days a week from 6am to 6pm.

He also plans to launch a new website which will offer a “click and collect” service so people can place an order at any time and pick it up when it is convenient.

Mr Hazell, who is married with two children and lives near Reading town centre, says the changes are necessary to keep pace with customers’ increasingly busy lives. He said: “I’m very pleased with how it has gone as we’ve had a lot of positive feedback.

“The online orders will be a big part of our business in future as they are with any business now because that’s how a lot of people shop.

“We’re going to offer the same high-quality products and service but we need to be open at times when people are free and Sundays are a big part of that.”

Mr Hazell first worked at the shop in 1979, when he was 15, and stayed for about 16 years.

He then took over the Jennings family’s other shop at the Milestone Way precinct, off Peppard Road in Emmer Green.

He renamed it Cavendish Meats and ran a community cricket team of the same name until 2003, when he moved to the Hare Hatch Sheeplands plant nursery near Wargrave.

He traded there until about 2013 before taking some time off away from work.

About two years ago, Mr Hazell was invited to rejoin the business by the Jennings family, who wanted to let the shop go and felt he would be a good successor.

He agreed to take over in the spring and the handover was formalised last month.

The Jennings continue to run their catering butchery in nearby Prospect Street.

Mr Hazell, who has five staff, said: “I think they’d reached a point in their lives where they didn’t want to invest any more in the shop and I thought I would give it a go as it is still incredibly popular.

“It’s quite a big commitment so I worked there for a while to make sure it was what I wanted. It was great going back because I’ve lived in the area all my life and know my customers well.

“It was almost like a homecoming and there were lots of people who remembered me from my old shop. They were very surprised but glad to see I’d come back.

“There’s a great community spirit in Caversham — it has got a ‘village’ feel, a bit like Henley.

“People are very friendly and like to support independent shops as they give that personal touch and can tailor an order to their needs.

“They also like the fact that they can see us at work behind the counter.

“There’s been a lot of hard work with the refurb and the new opening times but I’m feeling very, very confident about the future.”

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