Pride and passion are two great pillars which support both the farming and food industries alike – and we strive to work with folk who have bags of both. Supporting local farmers and the local community is what our #MeetTheSupplier campaign is all about. And, as we continue to work towards welcoming you all back with open arms, we wanted to shine a light on one such supplier it has been a privilege to work with over the past few years.
The Swales name has long been synonymous with true quality and exceptional customer service, it is something people have come to expect from the name. For decades the Swales butchery has served Scartho and surrounding areas with dedication and vigour. But it was in 2013 that the business became more than a reliable name. More than a familiar and comfortable place to shop. It evolved. It embraced a new direction and new ways of working, a move which significantly helped the business to diversify and continue thriving.
Swales holds a place on the map as a destination outlet for those that are passionate about produce. Those much like owners Steve and Lisa. While the business has gone through big changes and been brought into the 21st century, the sentiment and values at its heart remain true to the Swales family who owned it previously, and to the prior owners before them. Everything Swales has been known and loved for over the years – tradition, pride and quality produce – remains. It has simply been reimagined.
“Originally it was called Dennis’s then the Swales family took over and had the butchers for 20 odd years,” explains Steve – who, along with his family, owns the butchery and bakery. “The Swales family decided it was time for retirement and that’s when I took over the business in 2013. I decided to keep the reputable Swales name as the local community knew and loved the business and I wanted to reassure them that everything the Swales family did I was going to uphold. From buying locally sourced meat from local farmers in Lincoln and Market Rasen to original recipes that go back years.
“There has always been butchers and bakers in the village, just not owned by the same business. I took over the bakers next door to Swales in 2007 so when the opportunity came about to purchase the butchers it seemed like it was time to take the next step and grow our business. I kept all the traditions that were well-established, we did however decide to update the signage and modernise the shop to bring it up-to-date.”
It was this modernisation that has helped Steve and his team navigate the Covid-19 pandemic successfully and help his clientele and local charities too. Far from just a village butchers, Swales offers an extensive online ordering system which allows customers to shop online with delivery direct to their door. For anyone with a busy schedule, keyworkers and the vulnerable in the community – especially currently – this has been a lifeline.
“Over the last few years since we introduced the online system, we have been able to help countless customers who cannot get into the store. Word quickly got round that Swales can deliver excellent locally sourced produce straight your door free of charge – I believe we are the only butchers and bakers in the local area to offer this service,” continues Steve.
“Having our website has allowed us to reach out to the most vulnerable people during lockdown, we have provided items which we wouldn’t normally stock to help customers in crisis. In turn this has allowed new relationships to develop, we have quickly gained trust from new customers – a quality that our regular customers know and love.”
Swales has been able to assist Healing Manor in its charitable efforts during the pandemic too by supplying meat for meals donated to feed those at St Andrews Hospice and the We Are One Foundation. Their pie lids too have helped ensure the success of Healing Manor’s take-away meals offering.
Branching out into the catering/commercial trade was another venture implanted by Steve in recent years. With a strong belief that chefs at hotels and restaurants rely on quality produce but that it isn’t always available consistently Steve took the plunge. And it’s paid off. “We now supply lots of the restaurants in the local area including the fabulous Healing Manor. I was approached by Steven a couple of years ago – he was looking for quality locally sourced produce. We sat down and had an in-depth discussion about what Healing’s needs were and if we could meet them.
“We provided samples the very next day. Steven had an expectation of what he wanted from us and we made it our mission to deliver, which we did, this allowed our business relationship to develop. We so value their honesty, work ethic and passion for success.
“Venturing down the catering trade route was 100 per cent the right move. As well as solidifying important working relationships with fellow local businesses it has helped us generate more jobs locally, providing a secure workplace for our team of 20.”
From the butchery to the bakery and everything in between, to this day the team at Swales still takes pride in every facet of the business. While the website and online shop has provided security in the now, it will be the high quality locally sourced meats and freshly made produce at reasonable prices that keep customers coming back for over future decades.
“We pride ourselves on excellent customer service and believe everything we do has to be the best we can make it,” adds Steve. “We plan to keep on supporting local farmers, donating to the local community and providing quality products at reasonable prices with our excellent customer service. We plan to keep pushing the business forward, securing the employment of our staff and creating new jobs when possible. The people who support our future are supporting the local farmers that provide us with fantastic products. They are supporting quality, from farm to fork.”
Steven Bennett, aka The Lincolnshire Chef says: “Steve and Lisa are without doubt champions of local produce, and perhaps more importantly the people responsible for that produce. That is why we are beyond proud to work with them. Having suppliers you can rely upon when it comes to service and quality of produce is essential for us, and having those who deliver to the highest standard time and time again is what allows us to set ourselves apart as a business. This is what the team at Swales does.
“From the meat in their butchery to the fresh bread they supply us with we proudly use it all. With their farm to fork ethos enforced across their whole range, knowing where your food comes from is never an issue. This in turn helps us deliver what our clientele are demanding more of – traceability, accountability and quality local food.”
To find out more or order online please visit https://swalesgroup.co.uk/