AMID challenging times for retailers, the experience of an independent butcher shows how some small firms are adapting to help them take on the giants that dominate the market.


Stewart Collins.



What is your business called?

S Collins & Son.

Where is it based?

Muirhead, Glasgow.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

S. Collins & Son was established by my grandfather and is a traditional family butcher. We pride ourselves on providing what we think are the very best meat, products, service and advice. All our products are butchered or handmade on site from Scotch beef, lamb and pork including sausages, burgers, kebabs and freshly baked products.

As is the way with independent shops battling the supermarkets and online shopping, we have had to diversify and so now offer fresh fish.

It is important for us to show our customers that they can get their supermarket favourites from us too, such as specially selected meat and BBQ packs, as well as slimming and ready to cook products, with a personalised service. This includes carrying your bags to the car and sharpening your knives!

We have won over 70 industry awards - including Scottish Butcher of the Year in 2012 and 2016. We have just been judged to be the makers of the “Best Beefburger in Scotland” having won the Diamond Award for the category at the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards 2018.

To whom does it sell?

People from the surrounding area and Glasgow, as well as restaurants, hotels, cafés and snack bars. We launched the e-commerce side of the business in 2014 which means that we have customers now as far afield as Torquay.

What is its turnover?

In seven figures.

How many employees?


When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

It was a natural choice to take over the family business. When I left school I spent some time learning the retail trade outwith butchery which helped give me a greater vision to see the potential in our business and what value I could add.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

As a member of the family, I have always been part of the business but my career started off working for German food giants Lidl as a Deputy Store Manager.

I was with Lidl for 10 years progressing through the ranks and working all over the UK until my father gave me the opportunity to take over the family business. My brother Fraser has since joined the business too.

I learned lots from my time at Lidl about how a large scale food retailer operated, in areas like merchandising, marketing and customer service. I’ve applied these lessons where possible at S. Collins & Son.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

Being able to provide our customers with the best quality of products and quality of service consistently so that they return. Also having the freedom to direct and guide the business in the direction I think is correct and seeing it grow.

What do you least enjoy?

Recruitment. We are lucky enough to have a great core of people working for us who have been with us for a period of time, but recruiting butchers and other staff with the kind of skills and experience we require is difficult.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

To continue to exceed our customers’ expectations working with local suppliers to provide consumers with fresh, high quality local Scottish produce. I’d love to continue to win industry awards.

We are just completing the expansion of our Muirhead shop which will allows us to sell hot food, takeaway, paninis, salads, ready meals and hot drinks as well increasing our whole chilled meat department and overall customer space

What are your top priorities?

Customer Satisfaction: We wouldn’t be where we are today without our loyal customers.

Quality: Our products have to be the best.

Customer Service: I like to go above and beyond for our customers.This can range from recommending a particular cut of meat to telling them about our refer a friend discount scheme or putting together a meat pack for a specific dietary requirement.

Integrity: we offer a 100 per cent money back guarantee should anything we sell fall short of the customer’s expectations

Team Work: It is really important that we all work together and operate as a happy and productive team so that we can fulfil all of the business’s priorities.

What single thing would most help?

A car-park in the village would benefit all local businesses. At the moment there is nowhere to park in the village so we and fellow village retailers miss out on trade from people who say they just had to drive by because they could not stop and park to visit shops.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

That preparation, planning and hard work pay off and to keep the business ethos at the centre of everything we do.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Training and development of our people is challenging and greater help and guidance is required, as well as capital, infrastructure and financial help in driving the business forward.

How do you relax?

I love to spend quality time with my beautiful wife Giselle, and our two fantastic children, Daisy and Ethan. I get lots of enjoyment from travelling as a family. My passions include light aircraft flying and mountain biking.