Stak­ing out a life change

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PET­RICE TARRANT

Toby and Kay Cot­ter are hang­ing up their knives af­ter more than 35 years in the butch­ery in­dus­try.

The cou­ple be­gan their ad­ven­ture in Toko­roa in 1978 when they went into a part­ner­ship with South Waikato Meats.

The in­dus­try was so thriv­ing that it wasn’t long be­fore they opened up a sec­ond shop – Mr Meats – in the mid-80s.

‘‘In the early years it was a big thing.’’

With more than eight butch­ers in Toko­roa alone, the cou­ple said they were more like dairies in those days.

‘‘In­de­pen­dent stores were well sup­ported,’’ Mrs Cot­ter said.

And it was no blood­ied apron in­dus­try.

Mrs Cot­ter re­mem­bers hav­ing a clean white shirt and tie ready ev­ery morn­ing for her hus­band.

Mak­ing hand-made sausages and cut­ting meat with a hand­saw blade called for 14- hour days at least.

But there was cer­tainly a work hard, play hard phi­los­o­phy.

Be­fore the days of health and safety, Mr Cot­ter re­mem­bers mak­ing sheep eye sand­wiches for fel­low work­ers or lock­ing them in the freezer.

He said he had never lost the pas­sion for the in­dus­try.

‘‘My fam­ily were all butch­ers,’’ he said. ‘‘Most butch­ers are jovial, they are a breed of their own.’’

The cou­ple bought Ex­port Meats in 1993 and have of­fi­cially handed over the keys to Ivan and El­iz­a­beth Gray.

They wish the Gray’s all the best and say it is the peo­ple they will miss the most.

And the peo­ple will miss them.

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