Butchers Advocate, 16 December 2020

In this month’s member spotlight we interview Damian and Tiff Galvin from Meat on Maitland

Damian and Tiff’s butcher shop, Meat on Maitland, is a family-owned business in Bingara, a small rural town in northwest NSW. They are the only butcher shop in a town with a population of 1300 people. Damien has run the shop for 12 years and prior to the previous owner, his father owned the business for many years. Damien spent his childhood growing up in the shop.

They use locally grown produce and have award winning sausages, bacon and ham, and cater to the local clubs, pubs and the friendly locals. They have a great reputation with the many tourists that call in.

How and where did you gain your experience, how did you get a start in this industry? 

My dad was a butcher, so I spent my childhood growing up in the shop I now own with my wife. My family also owned a local corner store which had a butcher shop attached, this is where I did my apprenticeship when I left school at 16. Being a small country town, you knew everyone, growing up in this era, there were many great old stories to be told and learn from. I had a great working relationship with my dad which made learning the trade fun. After completing my apprenticeship, I tried different things including working in the cattle industry, butchering for other people but owning a shop again was always my passion. 

What makes your business unique? 

We have a great shop with locally grown produce that we can keep an eye on well before it hits your plate. We work with the farmer, so we get the best product. The staff are second to none, without these great boys taking pride in what we do every single day we wouldn’t have the business we do. They are all keen to try and bring new things to our business. We smoke all our own hams and bacon that come from our local producers. These are a very sought-after product, people come from far and wide to purchase these. We also make our own salami and jerky. We are very involved in the community; we are on local committees and help out with community events.  

Did you ever remodel or refurbish your business? Do you have any plans for expansion, changes, innovative products or services? 

From when we purchased our shop 12 years ago, we have undergone many changes. One being a major fit out with new flooring, cabinets, and fridges. We are always seeing changes we want to make. At the end of last year, we put all new shelving in along one wall, which again changed the look of the shop. This has lots of gourmet sauces and spice rubs, along with local produce and utensils people need. 

Last year we also purchased a delivery truck, which really took off during COVID, we were able to deliver meat along with other goods when people couldn’t get to town. We are in the process of expanding our business to Narrabri, which is an hour over the mountain. This will be called Meat on Maitland too as it is on Maitland Street, so it’s like it’s all meant to be. We are planning to open this in early 2021 so if anyone out there would like a sea change and would like to join our award winning team, please contact us. We are a great team that love a good laugh and a nice cold beer.

For many shops, the clientele can be seasonal/tourist-based, wholesale to pubs & clubs, loyal customers out of the district or just local customers. What is your customer base?

We have a great customer base that is mainly local, but we do have a great deal of customers from towns around us that we deliver to twice a week that can’t come to us. The tourists are amazing and account for 30% of our business, they pass the word around and they just keep calling in and filling their little fridges up and saying hi.

What innovations have you introduced to your business and what have the results been?

We source all local product, we know where it comes from. This not only helps us, but also the farmer. The community love to know their product is in the shop. It adds a story. This is why we are unique; we can tell you where it has come from. The cooking of local hams and bacon is also a hit.

Tell us about your staff? 

Staff are everything, without staff we wouldn’t have the business we have. We are so lucky as we consider our staff family. They are passionate about their job, love their work and the customers. They make work fun, having a laugh and tormenting each other all day. They all turn up every day with a smile and are happy to be there. We have three permanent boys along with us. We have a new apprentice that started a month ago, he has fitted in like he’s been with us forever. Each boy brings something different to the business, but all share a passion for great customer service.

Have you ever entered or won awards for your business?

We entered our first Sausage King competition last year where we took out three Golds and a Silver. We were going to enter again this year, but due to COVID they were cancelled so this makes us the defending champs!

This has definitely been great for our business, being a small town, everyone was excited for us and being able to display winning signage, our tourists can’t wait to try the award-winning sausages, ham and bacon. 

Do you engage with your local community? How and why is it important for you?

Your local community is number one, the more you give the more you get back. We help all community groups and sporting groups with sponsorship and donations every year, we hold business meetings to support each other and we even all turn up on a Sunday morning once every three months or so and help each business clean the shop fronts and street to keep our community and business fresh and inviting.

Do you have a personal or business motto that you follow? 

We are here for the people not the profit.

What advice do you have for someone considering working in your industry? 

Call in and see me, you will have great fun and it’s a top trade that you can take you anywhere. It’s not all about cutting up meat, there is so much more to advance into.

Visit their website www.meatonmaitland.com