Bury St Edmunds butcher Eric Goodridge to retire from his popular shop Erics Prime Cuts after 40 years
A butcher who has served thousands of customers at his popular shop - is set to retire.
Eric Goodridge, 75, has run Erics Prime Cuts in Stamford Court, Bury St Edmunds, for 40 years.
At the moment he is handing over the shop, which will trade under the same name, to new owner, Gary Saint, who has taken over the business.
Leaving the meat trade is proving a bittersweet moment for Eric, who has worked as a butcher since he left school.
“Most people retire at 65 but I have kept going an extra 10 years, partly because I am self employed but also because I enjoy it,” said Eric, who lives in the town.
“It’s hard work, but that’s what I like, and having a laugh with the customers.”
Eric first trained as a butcher at the Co-op in Bury St Edmunds, after leaving school.
He then worked at Brafield Butchers on Northgate Street for 19 years.
He then spotted a vacant unit in Stamford Court and decided to open his own place.
Thousands of customers have passed through its doors in the last 40 years and its reputation for service and quality meat, has spread far and wide.
Throughout his career, he has also stuck firmly to tradition.
“We have always been busy at the shop, especially at Christmas which has always meant longer hours, working late into the evening and early in the morning,” said Eric, who is married to Jackie, 74, and has two children, Andrew, 55, and Julie 54.
“Covid meant we were very busy, too, as people couldn’t really go out so they came here to buy meat.
“There has been a few changes in the industry over the years. When I started there was no such thing as ready-meals, so that hit trade a bit.
“But then there was no such thing as barbecues either, so when they became popular, so did the demand for quality meat – and that is what we have always supplied.
“That’s the difference with traditional butchers, it’s that people can come in for a chat and are assured of quality meat, whereas in supermarkets, can they can only really just pick it up.”
Eric also ran two other shops at one point, with a second in Thurston and a third in Mildenhall.
During his retirement he plans to spend more time with his family – and playing golf.
“My two staff, James and Jim, who have been here for around 50 years combined, will stay on, and work for Gary,” he said.
“Retirement will be alright, but I’ll miss the shop and the hard work.”
Mr Saint said: “I’ve known about Eric’s butchers for many years.
"I’m looking forward to taking over and wish Eric all the best for his retirement.”