Harsh economic conditions take their toll on Suffolk family butchers firm

THE world economic storm has taken its toll on a north Suffolk family butchers popular for its tasty sausages, large slices of bacon and prime cuts of delicious meat.

During the 1970s discerning meat lovers would flock to one of the 14 K E Hutson butchers in Lowestoft, Southwold, Bungay and other areas.

But now the third generation family butchers only has one shop open to customers after it closed its store in Pakefield, near Lowestoft, on Saturday.

It means only the K E Hutson in Southwold remains open to meat lovers.

On Saturday at 12.30pm owner Cleeve Hutson, whose grandfather Kenneth started the business in 1947 by opening a butchers in Kessingland, placed the closed sign on the Pakefield butchers in London Road for the last time.

A sign on the door said; “Due to the ever falling number of customers and the world’s recession the shop is no longer viable to open.”

For the last five or six years Mr Hutson, 43, of Beccles, had noticed a slump in trade as young people and families turned to supermarkets instead for their meat or are cutting back how much they can buy in the tough economic climate.

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K E Hutson is also losing its loyal customers due to their age.

Mr Hutson, 43, of Beccles, said: “It is a sad day. I just want to say thank you very much for our customers’s support over the years.

“We have not been making money for the last five to six years. But as long as we were operating at near zero I kept it open as a public service.

“But as less customers were coming in it became financially unviable and so I had to make the decision to close it.”

Mr Hutson had to make one person redundant from the shop and he will move some equipment, such as a mincer, ham slicer and sink to his Southwold shop in the Market Place.

But as sign of his commitment to his loyal customers in the Pakefield area Mr Hutson will continue to make and prepare chipolatas, sausage meat and beef burgers at the Pakefield shop which can be pre-ordered and then picked up.

People can also order the Hutson sausage, made with a secret recipe dating back to the 1880s.

On Saturday the last customer at the shop was Jean Palmer, 78, of Kessingland, who worked at the shop for nearly 30 years form 1966 as a sausage maker.

A tearful Mrs Palmer said: “I made tonnes and tonnes of sausages in my time. I can’t tell you the secret recipe - I was sworn to secrecy.

“Today is a sad day. I had some very good times here.”

•People who want to order sausages, sausage meat, flavoured sausages, beer burgers and apple burgers should call 01502 574020. Orders can be picked up before 10am the next day.

If an order is more than �10 it will be delivered to homes within a 10 mile radius of Pakefield.

Christmas and other stamps are redeemable at the Southwold’s K E Hutson which is on 01502 722104.