Pyne's of Somerset

It’s hard to imagine anyone who better epitomises community spirit than Malcolm Pyne, owner of Pynes of Somerset. As we stand in Pyne’s butchers discussing their heritage, he breaks off every minute or two to greet customers, checking in and directing them to produce he thinks they’d particularly like.

Malcolm has a long heritage in butchery; as a second-generation butcher, he began working with his father when he was 13 years old – and with his bowler hat and mutton chop sideburns, he is butchery personified. He reminisces, “I don’t know what it is with the meat industry, but I always watched my father and I was always very impressed with it and the history behind it all; what that product was and where that product came from. It’s not just about it being a piece of meat on the block, it’s about going behind the scenes and the people you meet – the characters and the passion that they have for producing something wonderful and beautiful.”

It was 15 years ago that Malcolm bought the business from his parents. Telling us about that journey, he explains, “My wife and I have expanded it into the business it is today with a great team of people behind us. With that team and ourselves, we’ve gone on and hopefully provided the quality and the service that’s expected of a family business like ourselves.” It’s the familial, community feel of Pyne’s that truly sets it apart, as well as the care that Malcolm takes in the business, which shines through when he says, “People talk about it as a trade, but I don’t want to talk about it as a trade; it’s a craft.

This approach to butchery as a ‘craft’ has been rewarded, with Pyne’s winning South of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year then beating the other regional winners to be named the national 2019 Butcher’s Shop of the Year. The customer-centric approach that has placed Pyne’s in the spotlight is defined by Malcolm as “about continuity, quality, service and craftmanship. That will always pay off long term with the customer because they know – and we know – what the expectations are. Nobody’s perfect, but our aim is.”

The ‘farming fraternity’ has been a feature of Malcolm’s life from the year dot and the importance of ‘keeping it local’ is central to that: “It’s how it’s always worked: play with your playmates. The farmer comes into the shop, we shake hands, he’s a customer of mine and I’m a customer of theirs. We know each other; where I was brought up, I could open the front windows and look out to the fields across to see the cattle. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it’s not what we’re going to do in the future, it’s about maintaining and continuing what we’ve always done.”