Local food - Ernest W Edge & Son, Handbridge
PUBLISHED: 18:00 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 20:33 28 March 2017
Putting the spotlight on retailers whose business is an important part of community life
There are some businesses that are part of the community. Then there is Ernest W Edge & Son in Handbridge. The staff at this long-established butcher in the village, just across the River Dee from Chester, takes their customer service as seriously as the quality of their meat.
‘The way we can compete with supermarkets is by being better,’ said Bruce Edge, the third generation of the family to run the business. ‘And we make sure we are. Not only with the food we provide but with the service we give.
‘On a Saturday morning this shop will be full of people who know each other, all chatting. We all know each others’ names and it’s wonderful.’ It was Bruce’s grandfather, Ernie, who took on the running of the butcher’s, formerly Handbridge Post Office and a dairy business, in 1937. He had borrowed £100 from a friend to buy it. He had worked in the then ailing shop and turned around its fortunes. This was due in no small part to his wife, Florrie, who was forced to run the shop for seven years while he was serving in the war effort. Her son, John, was just a newborn and he would be in a drawer at the side of the counter so she could keep the shop going.
‘When my grandfather got back from the war the business was doing better than when he had left it,’ said Bruce. ‘She did a great job. There’s a lot to be said for these independent, feisty women.’
Bruce joined the business 26 years ago, working with both his grandfather and father, before taking over fully when his father retired. With his staff, including Phillip Rowland who has worked for the family for 44 years, they are keeping the butcher’s shop thriving. In 2015 it was named North of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year at the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards.
‘That was definitely one of the best moments for us,’ said Bruce. ‘We felt very honoured to win the north category. There were another 150 entrants. We were also runner up in the national competition.
‘I’m very proud to continue the family business. On my first day my grandfather said to me: “A good reputation takes a lifetime to build and a second to lose”. I think of those words everyday.’