A 20-YEAR-OLD is take over a well-known butchers that closed before Christmas because the owners wanted to step down from the business.
Jordan Fretwell was working as a Saturday boy in a butchers five years ago when he discovered his passion for the trade and has since completed his apprenticeship to get qualified.
Now he is looking forward to taking over at P&I Hopkins on Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, after family friend Paul Stone heard that the esteemed shop was going to close and took it on.
Award-winning brothers Ian and Paul Hopkins decided to call it a day after 32 years because they were coming up to retirement age and have had health problems.
The news was met with disappointment by locals but Jordan says an announcement that the shop would be coming back on March 2 for a grand re-opening – selling pies and sausages to the brothers’ recipe – had been warmly received.
He said: “Paul’s a good family friend and he came to me just before Christmas, first for advice and then to offer me the shop.
“I was looking at what opportunities I had out there.
“I can’t wait to get started and have got big things planned to grow the Hopkins brand.
“It will be nothing major but will bring it forward.”
He said their products will stay the same. “The pies and sausages are cornerstones of the business.”
Jordan, who lives in Golcar, Huddersfield, said he had a lot of family in the Birkenshaw area.
He said: “I am looking forward to carrying it on, people should support local businesses.
“Birkenshaw has got a strong high street and we want to be part of that.”
He said the shop will have closed for two months when it re-opens but he was sure that it would not take long for customers to come back.
He said a Facebook post about the re-opening had more than 400 likes and when they opened the shop briefly for the T&A’s photocall, two or three people asked when it would be re-opening.
In the meantime “Ian and Paul will be showing me the ropes and I’ll get used to how they work”.
“I started as a Saturday boy just cleaning,” said Jordan. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do I left school, something in food.
“The shop started letting me do more and I took to it like a duck to water and I discovered I had a passion for it.”
He went to Leeds City College for his apprenticeship classes, learning not just the basics of butchery techniques but also management of a shop, costings and food safety, including the HACCP system that helps food business operators look at how they handle food and introduces procedures to make sure the food produced is safe to eat.
Musician Mr Stone said: “I’ve lived in Birkenshaw all my life and the butchers truly is at the heart of the village. It’s a chance to keep tradition alive and really hope the loyal customers/fans of the butchers will be happy with the news.
“When I heard a rumour the butchers was shutting I instantly thought of Jordan who I knew through my business partner as I met him at his wedding.
“At the time he was a young lad and very passionate about butchery and had just started at college which stuck in my mind.
“Now with five years’ education, strong passion for a tradition and hands on experience I had to get in touch with him.
“I’m delighted to say that Ian will stay on full time and work alongside Jordan to keep the butchers open serving its loyal customers once again and flying the flag for what is arguably the best pie in Yorkshire!
“Keeping tradition alive we plan on bringing in new ideas and to once again show the public that ‘value and quality’ isn’t always shrink wrapped and mass produced.
“We’re hoping to to sell speciality cuts you just can’t buy in a supermarket and let people know where our meat has come from but keeping the heart of the business as it has always been.”