Butchers Advocate, 19 March 2021
Meet Ashleigh McBean
In the heart of Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of South Yarra, lies Gary’s Quality Meats. It is a highly regarded and popular family-run butchers that specialises in dry aged, whole body and free-range products.
The shop was first established 37 years ago by Gary McBean and has since evolved into a business that employs 15 staff members, including 7 full time butchers.
Gary now runs the business alongside his daughter Ashleigh, who has over 15 years’ experience within the industry.
Ashleigh is a fifth-generation butcher and has spent eight years working full time under her father and grandfather to complete her apprenticeship.
Ashleigh endeavours to build upon the foundation which has been previously established by her father, as a butcher that provides high-quality and authentic products and service to all customers.
Her passion, skill and hard work are evident, which has previously awarded her with the title of Victorian Apprentice of the year.
“It has been beneficial for networking within the industry and for helping to generate a greater social media presence,” said Ashleigh.
Gary’s Quality Meats impressive Instagram social media following of over 32K has continued to drive more customers, with many tourists visiting the shop alongside the returning customer base.
The popularity of the shop is also due to the specialisation of quality products and cuts, specifically, for aged beef and wagyu.
Ashleigh also credits the growing popularity to the shop refurb completed eight years ago.
“It showcases the products more and therefore we’ve had an increase in business. People like to visually see things before they buy.”
While the modernisation of the shop has been instrumental in showcasing the talent and products better, Ashleigh says their next focus point as a business is to continue to grow the product range and reduce the need to outsource.
“We really want to add smokers, prep rooms and curing rooms. Preparing all of our own products is the direction we want to head in so we can avoid outsourcing our smallgoods and cooked products.”
Ashleigh is a member of AMIC’s Victorian Retail Council.
As the first female in her family to join the industry, she is passionate about encouraging more women to pursue a career in the meat industry and elevate more female voices.
“People often expect to see a man behind the counter. I’m not offended but it’s something I’d like to change.”
When asked what advice she has for someone considering a job in the meat sector, Ashleigh said, “Every industry has their ups and downs. It is important to stick with it and commit. Remember, every customer is the most important customer.”