This family-owned butchers is a cut above
Bionic spoke to Drew Stagg, who enjoys his work as a top-class butcher at a family-run shop in Northampton. We found out why he thinks shopping small is always best and what his plans are for the future.
“I started work at Potters in August 2018, so three years ago now” says Drew, who is 25 years old and studied catering at college. From a young age, he loved to cook and experiment with dishes but decided after extensive experience he didn’t like the gruelling hours catering demanded.
“I used to be a chef, but I discovered I couldn't get on with the unsociable hours, so I turned my hand to butchery instead. I started off in a little butcher's shop on a farm for two years until they lost some contracts and had to find a new job.” he explained.
“One of the other employees had left a few months earlier and helped get me a job at Potter’s where I am now.”
A locally-loved butchers with a family feel
CR Potters and Sons, a popular and thriving butcher near picturesque Stanwick Lakes, is a hit with locals galore and is one of the leading butchers in Northamptonshire.
They’ve been in business serving mouth-watering meats to the surrounding villages for more than 50 years and their staff are experts in carving the best locally sourced pork and poultry. They proudly cater for restaurants, pubs, weddings and events and have customers as far out as Bedford and Cambridge.
Luck was on Drew’s side when he nabbed this tasty career opportunity and he’s loved working at Potter’s ever since but there are difficulties to face, ones that every SME owner is undoubtedly familiar with.
“Honestly, there are good and bad things about working for a small business” Drew says “The fact you feel close to your team is great, you feel as though you can approach your boss and share ideas or resolve issues in a calm way, so that's good."
Drew also mentioned that getting recognition for hard work is always a plus, and he feels like smaller businesses have this spot on.
“Our boss gets involved with the work we do and really feels part of the team. He’ll often tell us at the end of the week we’ve done a good job which is nice. It’s good to feel appreciated.”
But working amongst family can bring its struggles.
“I would say the only downside of working within someone else’s family-run business is that sometimes disagreements can be brought into work which can cause a bit of tension, especially as you’re not directly involved.”
But apart from minor tiffs that come with being professional with people you’re close to; Drew enjoys seeing the close-knit family work and cites the way the team gels together as one of the best things about working at Potter's.
Traditional views on technology
When speaking about technology, Drew knows the importance of using social media and websites to boost recognition of business but says that Potter's doesn’t really utilise this feature as well as it could.
“We don’t really know how to use technology for business” Drew says, “It would help us a lot, I know my last workplace used to use Instagram and Facebook a lot which helped advertise and bring custom, but my current employers don't use social media for business use.”
Where does Drew see himself in the future and what does he think is next for the much-loved local butchers?
“Hopefully the future of the business with be prosperous, the potential is there but a lot of work and money is needed for it to make the most of what it offers.”
“Our boss is in now in his 70's and will probably look to pass the business to his daughter to take over. I wouldn't mind setting up my own butcher's shop one day but I'm always happy to work for someone else too. As long as I have enough to get by and enjoy my work, I'm happy wherever.”
Drew had some solid advice for people out there who want to do something different though, either working for a small business or setting up one themselves.
Because he experimented with other catering avenues before, he is now confident he's found the career he loves in butchering but he urges others to do what makes them happy. If that means starting over and creating a business you're passionate about then so be it.
“My advice would be to go for it, it's really nice to work for a small business and feel part of one big team! I feel like my opinion is valid, and I'm actually listened to.” Drew says.
And what’s the best thing about working at Potter’s for Drew? Apart from all the delicious bonuses and getting to create some fantastic samples? The praise and feeling like you’ve done a great job.
“The best thing for me is the praise, I often get a ‘well done’ or a ‘thank you’ for working so hard that day and occasionally a bonus from the boss.” says Drew.
“But another great thing is the relationships I've developed with the other employees, it’s literally just three or four of us on a daily basis and we spend most of our time together. We all get on really well and have a great laugh together.”
You can see what Potter’s has to offer on C.R. Potters & Sons Facebook page.