Cunningham’s Butchers, a fourth-generation butchers in Kilkeel, is celebrating 100 years in business with a £250,000 investment in its facilities with support from First Trust Bank, writes Sam Butler.
The family run butchery in Co Down has expanded its footprint with the creation of a new shop at The Quays shopping centre, Newry, and the addition of a fully licensed cocktail bar at its restaurant in their Kilkeel premises. Over the past five years the business has increased its workforce from five to 50 employees, contributing significantly to local employment.
The award-winning business which holds the title of ‘Best Butcher Shop’ in both the UK and Ireland 2018/2019, has picked up a number of other prestige accolades recently including ‘Northern Ireland Deli of the Year’ at the Neighbourhood Retailer awards.
Managing director James Cunningham Jnrsays; “It has been a monumental year for our business as we celebrate not only our newly unveiled premises, but a century of exceptional customer service and quality products. My Brother Christopher & I are proud to continue the legacy of Cunningham’s Butchers, diversifying our offering to meet the changing needs of our loyal customers and growing our customer base in the wonderful City of Newry.”
Cunningham’s produces over 1,000 different product lines including gluten-free items and is one of the only Northern Irish butchers to have a Himalayan Salt Chamber for dry-ageing their beef.
James believes it’s a focus on innovation and farming heritage that has stood the business in good stead. He explains, “innovation is at the heart of our operations, and that was the reason behind our new cocktail bar which expands our offering to customers who can enjoy food and drinks in a beautiful setting. We have been overwhelmed by the response to our Newry Store and look forward to continue to build new customers there. To be named ‘UK Butcher Shop and Food Hall of the Year’ and also take home ‘Best Large Butcher in Ireland’ both for a second time is testament to the great team of people we have working for us. They are the heartbeat of the Business & go above and beyond for our customers. We can’t wait to see what the next 100 years will bring!”
Clare Clarke, First TrustBank,adds; “We are incredibly proud to work alongside such a forward thinking, dynamic business like Cunningham’s. James and his family’s in-depth agri-food knowledge and expertise has allowed them to identify trends in the sector, spot opportunities and expand the business and we are proud to support them on this exciting journey. Twenty award wins in two years is an incredible achievement and we wish the team all the best for their 100thyear celebrations.”