Invest in Hackney spoke to Meat N16; winner of the Mayor's Food Business Award and asked director Paul Grout, what does your business do?
"Meat London Ltd (T/a Meat N16) was the result of two local guys realising that Stoke Newington Church Street would benefit from a good Butchers shop. It has been our aim to create a typical English Butchers shop while incorporating modern standards and design.
We endeavour to source the best meat, poultry, game, delicatessen, cheese and wine products available to us and to provide our customers with a high level of customer service, knowledge and skills.
To date we have a team of 8 full-time staff including Senior Managers, skilled Butchers and shop workers, wine experts and trainees. We also have a portfolio of locals and young people who offer part-time hours on the busy weekends."
We'd love a potted history of the company:
"As mentioned above, Directors Marc Wise and Richard Jocelyn are local guys who wanted to open a Butchers shop. Paul Grout joined them to bring the Butchery and retail skills. As with any business, the Directors had vision, plans and expectations but no-one can ever be sure what will happen in reality. Happily, as thought, from the very beginning, the local community were appreciative of what we were trying to do and supportive of our business. Likewise with the local community of traders, we soon discovered any number of like minded shop owners and we have worked together to establish a sound, local amenity for residents in the area."
What do you do that is really special?
"We try to provide a product and customer service to the quality and standard that our customers want. However, we like to offer something extra and, as such we run butchery courses and garden events. Our Butchery courses take place in our purpose built course room. We run courses for small numbers and we cover Sausage making, Poultry and Game, Lamb and Beef. The courses are fully participational and, we hope, educational, but we try to get fun into our courses so that they make for an enjoyable evening out. We also use our garden for private and corporate events including hen and stag parties, birthday parties and corporate team building. Our groups prepare their own meat before our Chef fires up the BBQ."
What makes someone a perfect candidate to work in our business?
"Different jobs have different criteria. Sometimes we need skills and experience and sometimes we can train people to do the jobs we need. However, the first criteria for all of our team is enthusiasm. We have a diverse, international team of skilled and un-skilled employees. As the business has grown we have incorporated young trainees into our team and this is something that we aim to continue as we grow our business. We also like to offer part-time, weekend employment to young people from the local schools who, as well as offering us help and enthusiasm, benefit from an introduction into the workplace."
What’s your contribution to Hackney life?
"To be a good community business, we recognise that it is important to be part of the community. We support local schools and clubs with their various money raising schemes. We sponsor a local mini football league for youngsters who love to come into our shop to show off their football shirts emblazoned with our logo. We took part in the first Clissold Park Christmas Fair and we attended, two years running, the Stoke Newington School careers day for year 10 (15 year olds). We run an annual competition for local people to create their own Stokey Pokey Sausage and we encourage local children to take part in our Easter painting competition. We have open days in our garden through the summer so that our customers can meet our suppliers and taste our products in the company of the producers."
What advice would we have like before we started?
"In truth, we arrived in Church Street as seasoned professionals with a solid plan of what we wanted to do. We appreciate the support and friendship of local traders and, due to the nature of our business we just had to get on with it."
How can we get in touch with Meat N16?
"We love people to walk through the door and, in our opinion, this remains the best way to communicate. However, we accept that people have busy lives so we try to offer as much information as possible through our website www.meatlondon.co.uk. We love to share more immediate information via twitter (@meatn16) and, more recently, we have opened an Instagram account. If all else fails, we have email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and a telephone line (0207 254 0724)"