Shop local. Buy from your backyard. It’s what regional businesses, business associations and councils have been asking us to do for years. Yet it took a pandemic to make it happen on a large scale.
Travel restrictions forced us to do what previous generations only knew how; buy fruit and vegetables from the greengrocer, meat from the butcher, and lollies and newspapers from the newsagent. The rise of supermarket chains stopped that. Shopping under the one roof became simpler, more natural. But has it come at the cost of quality, community and thriving country towns, Patrick’s Butchery owner Aaron Nettheim asks?
Patrick’s is no newcomer to the main street of Yass. Brothers Terry and Keith Patrick watched the street’s facades change like the seasons over 62 years at the butchery.
Mr Nettheim took over as manager and butcher when the Patricks retired in December. He and Tom Girdler – who joined as an apprentice – have brought new energy to the business with their friendly faces and a shop fully stocked with fresh cuts of meat and mouth-watering marinades.
While the main street hums with extra people in Yass working from home, Mr Nettheim wants to remind them not to overlook their local butcher.
“There’s no point going off and buying from the big supermarkets who are getting support from the cities anyway. You may as well support the local vendors,” Mr Nettheim said.
The young butcher thinks people don’t realise how good the quality of local produce is.
“They don’t know a good thing, especially when they come from cities. They don’t know that local meat or veggies are a lot better quality than from the supermarkets. Not just us, but Aaron at Gunning Butcher and Darren at DJ’s Family Butchery (Yass) can pretty much trace where the animal comes from, and we can provide a better-quality product for a couple of extra bucks,” he said.
Aside from the improved quality, shopping local builds community, Mr Nettheim said.
“When you go down to small shops, be it the cafes or butchers, you can have a chat. It’s not just head down, pay your money and go home. You can socialise and have a bit of fun. Before COVID-19 restrictions, when we had eight people in here who knew each other, there was a nice atmosphere.”
Val Foley has lived in Yass for more than 18 years and said you couldn’t beat a visit to Patrick’s.
“I love it because it gets me out for a walk, they’re fantastic guys and they always go out of their way to help me,” she said.
Ms Foley encouraged others to walk their main street.
“You’ve got to support your shops,” she said.