Johnstans Family Butcher

Stephen Helebert and Stanley Hems from Johnstans Butchers, Kings Heath

I popped into my local butcher shop this morning to pick up some lovely dry-cured bacon, and they were celebrating their big win: a Gold award for ‘Best Customer Service’ and Silver for ‘Best Window Display’ in the Kings Heath Business Association awards.

Stanley Hems (right) is also the Chairman of the Kings Heath Business Association (not to mention Life Honorary President of the Birmingham and District Butchers Association), but was of course not involved in the awarding committee.

He tells me he’s been in business here in Kings Heath for 54 years. I believe this is the first time these awards have taken place, and they were voted by customers who filled in forms and handed them into the participating shops.

I must admit, I picked them for Best Customer Service. They’re certainly the most enthusiastic retailers in the High Street, and Stanley’s a great salesman. Always in for the upsell. Choose a type of meat, and he’ll grab the largest cut for you. Ask for a pack of bacon, and he’ll say “two, was it?”

But you don’t mind because they like a bit of banter and they’re friendlier than most retailers. Friendlier than most people, actually. Exactly why I go there, rather than the ASDA across the road. Much better meat too. And he was very good at handing out that voting form and encouraging people to participate.

So… congratulations guys. I don’t know who the winners were in the other categories, but yours was well-deserved. It’s nice to be reminded that we live in a village, and that there’s more going on around here than the big supermarket chains.