A proud and immensely popular local butcher is to close his shop in Birmingham after almost five decades.
Warwick Wakefield, 69, will bid an emotional goodbye at the end of the month having decided to retire and to close Warwick Butchers, situated along a row of shops between ASDA Queslett and The Old Horns pub in Great Barr.
Warwick announced his decision on Facebook on Thursday, and said: “A little over 47 years ago, I opened the doors of Warwick Butchers for the first time and created one of the proudest moments of my life. Being part of this community for such a long time has given us all so much energy and determination and we have navigated through both challenging and rewarding times.
“Along this amazing journey I have been lucky to gain friendships with so many wonderful people and collect happy memories that I will always cherish. Together with Ian and the team, I have dedicated my adult working life to what we’ve always been so passionate about – serving our customers to the highest standard, every day.
“However, it is now time for me to spend quality time with my family and friends, starting a new chapter of my life. The very difficult decision to close the shop permanently was not an easy one to make, but given our current circumstances, was sadly necessary.
“I thank all of our incredible customers for your loyalty and support over the years. Without you, we would not have been fortunate enough to enjoy such a memorable journey that we didn’t want to end. Please come down to the shop so we can thank you in person and say our farewells, before the shop closes for the last time at 4pm on Saturday, September 30. With thanks, Warwick.”
Happy memories of Warwick Butchers in Great Barr
The news of the impending closure has shocked the community of Great Barr and Pheasey. Simon Cass posted: “I worked as the ‘Saturday boy’ in 1978 at Warwick’s. I worked 2 hours, 4 days a week after school and an 8-hour day on Saturdays. I can say without doubt that those days were the happiest of my working life. I’m proud to have been associated with Warwick and the team. A sad day indeed. On a positive note, enjoy your retirement Butch x.”
Gary Kidgell commented: “Warwick, I am absolutely gutted to hear this news. As a former member of your crew and the opportunity you gave me to work with you. You taught me a lot and skills I never forgot. Not only one of the best bosses I have ever worked with, but a life long friend as well. I wish you the very best . From the bottom of my heart.”
Claire White said: “All the best Warwick! We have loved our Saturday walks down to you over the years. Sorry for all the sticky finger prints on the cabinets from the boys! We will have to try and get to you to stock up on your sausages and pigs in blankets! Christmas will never be the same. Send our wishes to Ian too. Claire and James.” And Melanie Giles put: “Thanks for all our lovely sausages and meatballs! Wishing you all the best x.”
Lack of staff
Speaking to our local Great Barr reporter, Warwick said his decision to retire was mainly down to a lack of staff. He said: “I’ve been here for 47 years. I started when I was 23 and now I’m almost 70. It’s down to the lack of staff; we can’t get any staff.
“We tried for 18 months trying to get staff in but we just can’t get them so I’ve made the decision [to close]. Plus the fact I’m nearly 70 years old and I need to retire now. I mean I started when I was young and now I’m old so I’ll pack up. I don’t know [if the butcher’s will remain]. It’s a tough one because not many people are taking butcher’s on [as a business]. I really don’t know.”
Warwick added: “It’s nothing to do with local competition either because we’ve got loyal customers and we’ve still got a good trade here. I just need to retire, I think, and that’s the main thing. That’s it really. My final message is thanks to everyone for everything they’ve done. I really appreciate your custom throughout the years.”