Butcher makes clean cut of it

MEAL MAKER: Traditional suburban butcher Phil Unsworth will hang up his hook at the end of the month.
MEAL MAKER: Traditional suburban butcher Phil Unsworth will hang up his hook at the end of the month.

Palmerston North's last suburban butcher's shop gets the chop at the end of the year, with Cridges at the Awapuni shopping centre closing its doors for good on New Year's Eve.

After 25 years at the College St shop, butcher Phil Unsworth has decided to give up working 60 hours a week and spend more time on the golf course or at the track, or even take a cruise.

He said as soon as he heard that a supermarket was coming to Awapuni, on Pioneer Highway, "I knew it was time to go".

The business he took over from Dallas Alexander and which still bears the name of Clarrie Cridge's former butcher's shop on the corner of College St and Fitzherbert Ave, has been on the market this year, with no takers.

The shop had withstood other changes in the retail centre, many of which have drawn customers away.

"There used to be a fruit and vegetable shop - when that went it took away turnover, and the post office took out more. We used to have two banks, and when they went, we lost 10 per cent of turnover."

The number of reasons for people to drive past and do their errands all in one place has grown.

Mr Unsworth has enjoyed a loyal customer base and has watched some shoppers' children grow up and return to buy for their own families.

He has made pies that contain "real meat" and has maintained a viable business by supplying meat products to several bakeries.

The shop that was once part of the Consumer's Co-op chain has not changed much over the years. The wallpaper is genuine retro, the butcher's slab has worn hollows, and there is no computer or laptop.

"I would not know how to turn one on," he said. "Everything is done in longhand."

The shop window still announces "Meat Makes the Meal", with no sign indicating a closing-down sale.

That news was shared with the community shopping centre the old-fashioned way.

"I just told the hairdressers."

Manawatu Standard