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Further Developments Sees Butchers Saved From Closure

Historic Arbroath butchers Fleming will be saved from closure, with all staff retaining their jobs.

It was revealed on Monday that workers had been told the business would close in October.

The West Port butchers and bakers, established in 1925, is famous locally for its steak and gravy pies.

Rising costs and a fall in customers during the cost-of-living crisis were among the reasons for closure, current owner Guthrie Batchelor told staff.

However, the 97-year-old business is not ready to close its doors quite yet.

In a hastily arranged deal, businessman James Thomson will acquire the company and all its assets in August.

Mr Thomson operates Longparke Farm Shop and Café in Monifieth and is one of Fleming’s wholesale customers.

He met Mr Batchelor on Monday evening and was encouraged to complete the deal after seeing the strength of feeling among Fleming customers on The Courier’s Facebook page.

He said: “When the news came out we knew its closure would be a huge loss to the local area.

“Many members of staff have been there for almost 40 years.

“As a customer, we see it as an opportunity to be part of the source of our products.  I know it is all locally sourced and there are no shortcuts taken with quality.

“I met with Guthrie on Monday evening and the deal has moved at a fast pace.

“We are keeping on all the staff and the Arbroath shop.  It’s business as usual.”

Mr Thomson said he was not surprised to see hundreds of comments expressing sorrow at its closure online.

Among the messages was from a man who said he drove from Aberdeen each week to stock up.

“It demonstrates there’s a loyal customer base, ” he said.

The new owner said he would a Fleming fridge into the Longparke Farm Shop.  In time, this may develop into a butchery counter.

The transaction is likely to complete on August 31.

Mr Batchelor said: “I’m delighted that Fleming Butchers will continue.

“It’s the best-case scenario as all the staff are keeping their jobs.

“James has a few ideas and a lot of enthusiasm to take the business forward.”

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