Kebab in a bag: Sunderland's Stirk's butcher's returns to Sea Road with new meal prep venture
A well-known Butcher’s shop which controversially closed its doors on Sea Road is relaunching at the Fulwell site with a new business venture.
After falling meat sales, Stirk’s shut up shop two months ago in a move owner John Stirk said was “gutting.”
He vowed to focus on his other Butcher’s shop in Grangetown, as well as Stirk’s Steakhouse at The Broadway pub, in Chester Road.
But a new meal prep service has proved so popular he’s had to reopen the Sea Road site to meet demand.
“The meat industry as a whole is struggling,” he explained. “I was looking at my business plan from when I opened the other day and back then, in 2009, there were 26 butchers in Sunderland, now there’s only eight.
“As a business owner, shutting a shop is not something you ever want to do. At the time I said ‘Sea Road wasn’t the street it was when we opened’ but that was about the economy, not the customers, who have always been fantastic.”
Recently Stirk’s began running a meal prep lunch-time delivery and collection service, which gives people the chance to order ready-made meals, such as kebabs in a bag to cook at home, Bolognese pasta, bangers and sweet potato mash and tandoori style skewers with bombay potatoes, which are calorie counted.
Stirk’s On Wheels, SOW, has proved so popular that John has converted the Sea Road site from a butchers into a deli and meal prep collection shop.
Speaking about the business move, which has created three new jobs, John said: “We started doing meal preps above the shop in Grangetown and within a month it proved so popular we were doing 400 a week. We don’t have the space there and I still had the Sea Road site so we decided to give it a go here.
“Delivery apps are so popular now and we’ll be doing our own soon. People want convenience, but they also want to know what’s gone into their food which is why we label it with the calories and fats. People want accessible healthy eating.”