Father and son butchers are following in the footsteps of a local legend who has kept Middlesbrough’s meat lovers happy for decades.
After reaching 70 in October Danny McCluskey, who has been a butcher since 1965, announced that he was hanging up his apron and selling his shop Danny’s Family Butchers in the Dundas Indoor Market.
Danny’s decision sparked a flurry of interest from prospective buyers and – for Colin and Craig Mackenzie – it provided an opportunity to fulfil a long-held dream.
“We’ve talked for ages about getting our own business,” said 26-year-old Craig, who first helped out his dad when he was 13. Colin trained him to be a butcher and Craig has been using those skills ever since, most recently on the meat and fish counter in Morrisons.
Colin has been a butcher for 40 years but said Danny will be a hard act to follow. “The time’s right for him and us. We’re not going to change very much to start with. We’re still going to call the shop Danny’s Family Butchers and I want to try and keep his humour and banter going. Part of the job is to be a good listener and a friend for your regulars – and Danny was so good at that,” he said.
Colin and Craig will be introducing additional ranges of fresh meat – rabbit, goat and game – and will be providing their older customers with small “Pensioner Portions”. They also plan to introduce environmentally friendly packaging.
During his last few days at work Danny has been overwhelmed with cards and gifts from his customers.
“Quite a few have been in tears,” he said. “It’s going to be strange – particularly on the first morning when I won’t be going into work. But I know that the business is in good hands with Colin and Craig.”
David Harris, the manager of Dundas Indoor Market, said Danny was a local legend who, after so many years of long working hours, deserved a relaxing retirement.
“It will be very strange for me, his fellow traders and customers not to see Danny every day,” he said. “But I’m already getting to know Colin and Craig and – as well as knowing the job inside out – they’ve got great personalities and are a really good fit for the market.”
Danny’s final day was Saturday and the new Danny’s Family Butchers opens tomorrow (Tuesday).