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Old-fashioned butchery a thing of the past

An era is coming to an end as butcher Neil Bates closes Rochester Meat Supply after almost 30 years.

ELAINE COONEY July 4, 2014 3:10am

Rochester Meat Supply owner Neil Bates is shutting shop after 28 years in business.


Rochester butcher Neil Bates imagined becoming a millionaire when he Mackay St butcher shop 28 years ago.

‘‘But that never happened,’’ he said, chuckling.

Mr Bates decided to take up a managerial position at a butcher’s shop in another town and will close Rochester Meat Supply’s doors on Saturday.

‘‘I feel sad. It’s been part of my life for the last 28-and-a-half years,’’ he said.

He said many of his customers were older and some had died in the past few years.

Mr Bates said butchery was a dying trade.

‘‘If the public doesn’t support us there will be less butcher’s shops and we won’t have (them) anymore, only supermarkets,’’ he said.

Although his business took a dip after the January 2011 flood, his style of business remained unchanged since 1986.

Coming from Melbourne he was surprised that many customers had accounts with the shop, so took out an overdraft.

He said he still offered the service to this day.

Mr Bates runs an old-fashioned smoke house for his smallgoods which is rare these days.

He said many other butchers had smoke ovens which were much smaller.

He often used the smokehouse to turn district farmer’s pigs into ham and bacon.

Mr Bates said he would miss his loyal customers and looked forward to retiringsome time in the futurein his home town of Rochester.

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