After almost 100 years, March is to say bye-bye to butchers J H Betts

PUBLISHED: 12:34 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:22 31 March 2017

March butchers, JH Betts, is to close after almost 100 years in the town. Current owners Denise and Kevin Swann are to close its doors on April 1. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

March butchers, JH Betts, is to close after almost 100 years in the town. Current owners Denise and Kevin Swann are to close its doors on April 1. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

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After almost 100 years, a March butcher has sold its last pound of sausages.

Kevin Swann and his wife, Denise, have run the March shop for the last 10 years. PHOTO: Seb PearceKevin Swann and his wife, Denise, have run the March shop for the last 10 years. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

J H Betts, on Station Road, is to close its doors for good tomorrow (April 1) after a downturn in trade.

The butchers has been a mainstay in the town for decades but is closing as customers prefer to buy their meat at supermarkets, according to owner Kevin Swann.

“People just aren’t buying enough,” he said.

Denise and Kevin say the popularity of supermarkets has had a detrimental effect on trade. PHOTO: Seb PearceDenise and Kevin say the popularity of supermarkets has had a detrimental effect on trade. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

“They use us at Christmas but then don’t come back during the year – they go to supermarkets.

“It’s not enough to keep us going and you can’t physically drag people into the shop and make then spend money.”

The shop dates back to the early 1900s, when it was owned by the Edward family. It was then taken over by the Betts family until Kevin and his wife, Denise, took over around 10 years ago.

J H Betts is to close on April 1. PHOTO: Seb PearceJ H Betts is to close on April 1. PHOTO: Seb Pearce

“Years ago this type of shop had regulars that would come in every week but now the younger people just go to supermarkets and opt for price over quality,” Kevin said.

“The disappointing thing is that the regulars we do have will miss out. I’ve spoken to the wholesalers we use and they say this sort of thing is happening all over the country.”

Kevin and Denise are now looking for someone to rent the shop – but not as a butchers.

Denise said: “It has to be to the right people. The shop has been around for decades so we don’t want people to come in and give it a bad name.

“We’ve noticed that over the years people have just stopped buying as much. They’re only buying a few bits but then getting the rest at supermarkets.”

The shop is now trying to sell all its left over stock before it closes – but sold its last pound of chipolatas at 11am.

One customer said: “No-one in the town is like Betts. It’s such a shame that it is closing down.”

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