SUPPORT us and we will survive.
That is the message from Bishopstoke’s king sausage maker.
Over the last 25 years Les Smith has witnessed the slow death of the local shop, watching helplessly as bakery after greengrocer’s has disappeared from the streets of Bishopstoke.
But it has been his determination and willingness to adapt that has seen his business thrive, while those around him have dwindled.
As his butcher’s, L.J Smith Family Butchers Limited, gets behind the Daily Echo’s Shop Local Buy Local campaign, Les warns shoppers that if they don’t support them, the local shops will have no option but to close.
The 66-year-old spent two years trying to sell his business after deciding to retire, but with no-one willing to take the risk on local shops, he has been forced to continue working, with the help of his daughter Donna.
“Over the years I have seen all the bakeries and greengrocers shut up shop but I was not ready to see my butcher’s share that fate,” said Les.
“We are proof that if local shops get support from customers, village businesses can survive despite the threat of out-of- town shopping.
“Without businesses like ours people will just be pushed out of the towns to the big chains and the local villages will just become ghost towns.
“We could have easily closed but I think it is really important for customers to have shops on their doorstep, where they can get that personal service that the big stores can’t offer.
“If a customer wants four different types of sausage to meet the different tastes of their family, they can get that here, we can make to measure unlike supermarkets who only offer packs of six or 12.
“We offer top of the range, award winning sausages that we are proud of and our customers can definitely taste the difference.
That’s why they keep coming back.
“This campaign is great to show residents that if they don’t support us they will only have themselves to blame when we all disappear.
“ They have to adapt and so do we and if we can all do that, the local butchers, bakers and greengrocers will survive.”