WHEN Alan Jones got a job in a butchers shop aged 13 little did he know it would lead to a lifetime in the profession – and even the route to meeting his wife Mary.
The 62-year-old and Mary, 60, are shutting up shop at the Western Butchers stall in Eastgate Market, which they have run in its currently location for 45 years.
Their last day of business on the stall will be next Saturday.
Alan’s remarkable tenure at the butchers started when he got a job in the Western Butchers shop at Chester Road aged 13. After finishing school, he took on a full time role with them, working 10 hours a day, usually with only enough break time to scoff a sandwich.
But he stuck with the firm and eventually took over the reigns of the business on January 1, 1983.
He met his wife of 40 years when her mother brought her along to the stall while she bought some produce.
Together they have lovingly served thousands upon thousands of customers ever since.
“You could fit Alan’s CV on a postage stamp,” said Mary. “We have been here a long time and we are now serving the third generation of our original customers.
“Now it is time to call it a day. We want to spend more time with our grandchildren and catch up on a bit of travelling as we only ever take one week off per year and you do need a good break.”
Alan said: “We have met so many people and it has always been a good laugh. It is a good atmosphere in the market. But I have done my bit and now is the right time to finish.”
The pair admit that the butcher industry is ‘dying out’ and that they would have found it impossible to pass on the business, so it is being wound down.
Regular customer Grace Lane said: “I have been coming to their stall for 30 years. I’ve never had a complaint and they have always been helpful with everything.
“It will certainly not be the same without them.”