Last year when Fred and Sheena Whiter parked outside an empty shopfront on Eden’s Imlay Street, the thought of reviving the vacant premises with a good old fashioned style butchery was risky but enticing.
“Sure it was to come with its challenges,” Sheena said. “The accountant said we were a bit mad. But we just thought why not give it a go.”
If anyone has the know in the butchery business – the Whiters surely do.
Fred is a deft hand with the knife. His butchery career began more than 20 years ago in Eden. Coincidentally he started out in the very same shop premises, formerly known as Brown’s Butchery.
He later took up an apprenticeship with Phillip Wood in the Arcade Butchery across the street, later known as Fred’s Butchery.
Towamba born and bred, Sheena grew up learning the ways of harvesting and butchering on the family farm.
“My dad taught me. From a young age, I used to help butcher and cook all kinds of meat. Cattle, lambs, pigs horses even pigeons all reared on the farm.”
Together they have been running a successful paddock to plate mobile butchery over the last few years as well as an organic and commercial butchers in Bombala.
The husband and wife team believed that re-opening a butchery was just what Eden needed.
“Every town needs a butcher. We knew our expertise would be welcomed and that we could provide a service and quality that was surely missed in the town,” Sheena said.
Since opening Whiters Butchery five weeks ago the couple have been run of their feet.
“We haven’t had one day off since opening on December 3,” Sheena said.
“Sausages have been a big thing. We’ve sold 1700 kilos of sausages in five weeks.
“It’s been all hands on deck. With loads of family support. We’ve had Grandpa, cousins, brothers, aunties and uncles staying up till all hours rolling rissoles and tasting sausages.”
The non-stop tinkling of the shop front bell is a testament to the Whiters’ efforts. Happy customers stroll in and stroll out arms full of brown-paper packaged meat.
Although the accountant said they “might be mad” – one thing is a certainty. They are definitely busy.
Eden folk seem to be happy the butcher is back.