Pleased to meat you, old kid on block tells Selkirk customers

Taking over the former Halliwell's butcher's shop in Selkirk is something of a step back in time for Jedburgh man John Taylor.

John Taylor, owner of Taylors Family Butchers.
John Taylor, owner of Taylors Family Butchers.

He has reopened the Market Place shop, closed over a year ago, this week in a move which sees him back behind the chopping block of his own shop for the first time in over three years.

Halliwell’s, one of the town’s longest-serving businesses stopped trading in August last year, after a 14-year-long presence in Market Place, with the loss of two jobs.

Over the past two weeks, since John bought the shop, it has been reinstated to its former glory, creating at least two jobs.

“You’ve got to have the right location, and this was the perfect one,” John,46, said.

“It’s right in the hub of the main area of the town, and it was a ready-to-go butcher’s shop.

“I remember it always being a busy butcher’s, always thriving.”

John has been busy fitting the shop out with new equipment including a sausage-maker, mincer, scales, hot pie counter and a dry-aging unit.

Original features including a 40-year-old maple cutting block and the original Halliwell’s counters, however, will remain.

And those features are not new to John as it’s not his first time behind the Selkirk counter.

“I actually worked here helping out when I was young for a few weeks back in 1992 for David Palmer, so it’s something of a homecoming.”

Father-of-three John, now living in Kelso, was trained up at Jed Fleshing when he was was 15 and has worked in the butchery trade ever since, previously running his own shop for 13 years.

He will be sourcing his meat locally, with his cattle coming from Jedburgh-based Willowford Beef.

“They’ll be supplying native-bred beef from the Scottish Borders and north Northumberland,” he added.

“Everything will be aged for 28 days, and I have a dry-aging unit, which will be the focal point of the shop.

“You will see a lovely great lump of sirloin that has been hung, before the unit takes the moisture out of it, so it’s even more mature and tender.”

“It’s the latest craze, and, as far as I know, there’s nowhere else doing this in the Borders.”

The shop was Halliwell’s butcher’s for 14 years and Palmer’s butcher’s before then, and in the years before that was an ironmonger’s.

It went up for sale last August and sat empty for over a year after Halliwell’s owners shut up shop after fearing that the ongoing town centre regeneration works were going to hit their footfall too hard.

However, John is optimistic that the positive welcome he’s been met with so far means the new business should fare well.

“I am buzzing to be back behind the counter,” he said.

“The response I have had so far since announcing the new venture on Facebook has been great.

“People seem to be really welcoming the news in Selkirk.

“Folk here are very loyal, and they are just happy to have another butcher open again.

“My priority will be looking after the folks coming through the door.”

Taylor’s will be open from 7am to 5.30pm on weekdays and 7am to 5pm on Saturdays initially.

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