In little over 6 months, Paul Shum Family Butchers in Yoxall is firmly established as one of the county’s leading butchers. It’s a real success story as his first few months have seen droves of people visit the shop, its turnover double expectations and the team growing to keep up with demand.
Paul Shum decided to take the ambitious step of opening his own business when he learned that his former employer was closing his long-established butchers in Yoxall – where Paul had worked for more than 20 years. Combining his butchery skills, contacts, knowledge of the area and popularity with the customers, he decided the time was right to go it alone.
He found premises on the edge of Yoxall, within Woodmill Farm, which took several weeks of hard work before he had created exactly what he needed – plenty of cold storage, a smart shop front and a car park. He gathered together his very best contacts - all local farmers and suppliers, told everyone about the venture and the rest is (relatively recent) history.
Paul recruited his old side-kick Jon Randall who had also worked with him at the previous butchers - and soon he found the need for a third person and Darren Kendrick joined the team. Also, very much a part of the business is wife Catriona who supports the shop’s activities as well as holding the fort with two young children at home. Dad Bob helped renovate and decorate the shop and is a keen supporter of his son’s enterprise.
As he is Yoxall born and bred, Paul is passionate about working with people he knows and building relationships with his colleagues. He doesn’t sell any product where he hasn’t visited the farm or inspected the premises. The secret to Paul’s success appears to be in this level of dedication. He regularly works 14 hour days, 7 days a week and is very particular about every standard – from the cleanliness of the premises to the quality of the meat.
In the first few months, there have been incredible achievements which are testament to Paul’s drive (and lack of sleep!).
Paul Shum Family Butchers got a 5-star food hygiene rating from East Staffs Borough Council's environmental inspectors - with not a single hazard point. To anyone who knows Paul it is no surprise! The business was found to be VERY GOOD for hygienic food handling, the cleanliness and condition of the building and management of food safety.
Later in the year, the team was overwhelmed at having been shortlisted as Midlands finalists in the Countryside Alliance Awards - Butcher category. In celebration of the British countryside, the awards have been around for 14 years and are known as 'Rural Oscars' - announced annually in the Houses of Parliament no less. In the final judging, Paul Shum Family Butchers didn’t win but received a commended. Not bad for 6 months’ work.
Paul launched the Family Pack at the beginning of 2019, just weeks after launch. His ethos is to provide a week’s worth of high quality, beautiful cuts of locally sourced meat, together with online recipe inspiration, and make it accessible to everyone by pricing it at just £20. The pack content changes every 2-3 weeks and typically includes 5 different kinds of meat such as mince beef, barbecue ribs, chicken breasts, lamb grillsticks and other tempting goodies.
In line with making good food more accessible, Paul sources fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and other products locally. He sells Just Crisps and Just Oils – all sourced from the Froggatt family a few miles away, in fact it’s the only 100% British crisp where everything is grown and made onsite. He also supplies local pubs, restaurants and catering companies – many of whom are listed on his website page ‘Keeping it local’.
At a community level Paul Shum Family Butchers has been involved in an assortment of local events, sponsoring the annual tidy up that precedes ‘Best Kept Village’, supported the local school’s events and also celebrated National Butchers’ Week by running a competition to design a new sausage flavour. The winner was Laura Hudson from Barton under Needwood who suggested a pulled pork recipe which has proved to be hugely popular ever since!
It would seem that in an uncertain economy that some things can be certain and that is that Paul Shum will continue to establish his butcher shop in Staffordshire and enjoy the rewards of his incredible hard work and long days. For the future he is considering launching a lean meat box aimed at athletes and those who are following a high protein diet.
It appears that a reputable, well-stocked butchers is a vital outlet for residents, not just of Yoxall, but from the wider Staffordshire and Derbyshire area too. “We are regularly surprised when people tell us how far they’ve come, purely from word of mouth” said Paul. We expect he’ll continue to attract a good crowd if the first few months is anything to go by.