New butcher brings vi­sion for the fu­ture

Central Queensland News - - FRONT PAGE - Vanessa Jar­rett Vanessa.Jar­rett@cap­

DE­SPITE the town be­ing in the mid­dle of one of the harsh­est droughts in his­tory, Steve Alexan­der has taken a leap into a new busi­ness.

Mr Alexan­der, 30, is the new owner of Al­pha Qual­ity Meats in Al­pha, the ru­ral town 170km west of Emer­ald on the Capricorn High­way.

“It is (the drought) some­thing I con­sid­ered and I feel like if I come in now it is go­ing to be hard go­ing but once it picks it up it will be fine,” he said.

“I see that com­mu­nity needs it (a butcher) more than I need money.

“I am not here to screw every­one out of their last penny.”

He said, as a town, it was hard to tell how the econ­omy was go­ing.

“It is do­ing all right.

“It is very quiet and it has just been in the last month and six weeks.

“It is no­tice­ably less peo­ple – head count it is a lower amount.”

Mr Alexan­der moved to the ru­ral town, which has a pop­u­la­tion of 571 peo­ple ac­cord­ing to the 2011 cen­sus, in Jan­uary this year.

He and his part­ner, Kylie Jones, moved with their son, Stockton, 3, for Kylie’s first ru­ral teach­ing stint.

Com­ing from Oakey and prior to this, Bris­bane, at first it was a bit of a cul­ture shock, but they quickly grew to love it.

“We love it here .... it was an ad­just­ment to be­gin with,” he said.

“It’s a quaint lit­tle town, every­one is so friendly it’s very com­mu­nity spir­ited.

“I started meet­ing all the peo­ple, the peo­ple here are what’s keep­ing the town alive.”

Look­ing for work, Mr Alexan­der start­ing work­ing at the butcher shop.

He hadn’t picked up a butcher’s knife in some time.

Af­ter com­plet­ing his butch­ers’ ap­pren­tice­ship in Townsville at the age of 20, he went into var­i­ous other fields with his last role be­ing a chippy – so he was a bit rusty with his knif­ing skills.

“It took me a cou­ple of weeks but I got there,” he said.

“There is a few cuts that I wrecked but I got there.”

Of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to take the shop on, Mr Alexan­der said he could see a fu­ture in it.

“A chal­lenge for one and se­condly I can seen a lot of po­ten­tial in this lit­tle shop.”

He said it would be good to bring a dif­fer­ent face to the town.

“I am try­ing to broaden their hori­zons, some­thing new and fresh,” he said.

A pipe dream is to put in a com­mu­nity gar­den next to the shop and use 100 per cent lo­cal pro­duce.

“I want to keep as much money here as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“In­stead of money out, if it costs you a tiny lit­tle bit more.”


LEAP OF FAITH: Steve An­der­son with part­ner Kylie Jones and their son, Stockton, 3, are the new own­ers of the butch­ers in Al­pha. They hope to bring a fresh new face to the town ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a harsh drought cov­er­ing most of Queens­land and New South Wales.

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