Edinburgh small business Longstone butchers saved from closure by local slaughterman
A popular Edinburgh butcher beloved for its pies has been saved from closure by its new owner
When popular Longstone butcher Bob Campbell announced he was retiring and closing his shop on Kingsknowe Road North earlier this year, locals were in shock. But now a local man has taken on the shop with plans to name it after his two-year-old son.
Mark Nayer lives in the area, and although a slaughterman to trade, he decided to save the shop from closure after seeing the outcry on the local community Facebook page. Locals were particularly aghast that they would no longer be able to sample Campbell and Sons’ famous steak and gravy pies.
The 57-year-old saw this as an opportunity to take on his own business, after 35 years of working at local slaughterhouses including the nearby Chesser Corn Exchange and in Linlithgow. Having taken on the shop, under the supervision of Bob, Mark also plans to name it after his son Harris.
He said: "I stepped in because I have lived here for 30/40 years and I have a bit of knowledge about this game. And the job I was doing didn’t fit in with my life anymore. I needed to consider my age so I thought it would be nicer to slow down. Although it’s been long days so far, 5am – 6pm. But that’s just while I get started up.
“I saw the outcry on Facebook. I thought ‘why not?’ It’s been something I have always wanted to do, work for myself. I had a chance to change my circumstances and I took it. My son is two and a half. I would like him and my three daughters to be more comfortable. I think it’s important to have a local butcher’s shop. Not just because it’s mine, I now realise how beneficial it is to have something so close by for locals to enjoy.
"It’s been an eye opener, the making of things. Sliced sausage, pies. It’s a learning curve. Bob has retired but he still comes in and helps me in the mornings. He has been a great help. Learning about your meat is a big part of it. It’s all perishable, so you can’t order too much, make the most of what you have. You can’t afford to waste anything.
"I’m being hit by wholesale prices going up, but I don’t want to put prices up just now. We are coming to the busy season, but I have got to make the business work for the year. In the winter time Christmas is a big deal and in the summer it’s barbecue season, but the rest of the year is tougher.”
Mark is delighted to take on the shop from Bob and hopes it continues to make locals happy, with the famous pies still on the menu. He said: "I want to be successful. Being a slaughterman I know a good piece of meat but working in a butcher’s shop is different, there is so much to learn, but I’m getting there.
"I’m not here to make a lot of money but I would like job satisfaction. I would like people to talk about the shop and spread the word. The Kingsknowe is my local. When I go up there it’s good to hear people talking about the butcher’s shop. But I also take on criticism, as I’m still learning. Once I get on top of things I can make it fit around me and my life.
"I can’t take credit for the pies, but I’m definitely continuing them. Bob had his shop originally at Wester Hailes Centre, then at Sighthill Centre and then here, and people have followed him everywhere. So I want to keep things going for them. I think Bob is quite happy I have taken the shop on. It’s been great to have him helping me get going. I’m not a big head, who doesn’t think he needs any help, I’m still learning.”