Stapleton’s butcher shop, which has operated at Sutherland for 121 years, has closed.
Opened in 1896, it is believed to have been Sutherland Shire’s oldest, continuously operated business.
Michael Rogers, who bought the business, named Sutherland Quality Meats, five years ago, said a combination of factors led to the decision.
They included a shortage of parking, resulting from council changes, increasing development and Shire Farmers’ Market on Saturday.
Mr Rogers said the shop’s last refit was about 30 years ago and it would have cost about $750,000 to bring it up to modern standards.
On top of that, the meat industry had been in financial decline for the last two years.
Mr Rogers said he decided to close the Sutherland shop and consolidate the business at his other Stapleton’s outlet in Southgate Sylvania, which opens seven days a week.
“Sutherland is a ghost town after 12.30 on Saturdays, so we used to close at 1pm and not open on Sunday,” he said.
Mr Rogers said staff had moved from Sutherland to Sylvania, and customers had been very supportive.
Denis Stapleton, who retired and sold the Sutherland business in 2007 after 40 years of working in it, said he was saddened by the shop’s closure.
Mr Stapleton’s great grandfather opened the shop, which was originally next to Woolworths, which occupied the corner location.
The butcher shop had its own abattoir, which was in the area where the Acacia Road bypass is now located.
“We had a very close relationship with our customers, and they were very loyal,” Mr Stapleton said.
“Some people think we closed the shop, but we haven’t had any involvement with it since 2007,” he said.
“There have been two other owners since then.
“My older brother Ron and his son Mark operate Stapleton’s Family Meats, at Gymea, and are carrying on our family tradition of great service and top quality meat.
“Ron used to work with me, and he sourced the meat supplies for both the Gymea and Sutherland shops before I sold it.
“I still work in with the Gymea shop with staff training and best practice.”
Mr Stapleton said a photo of the original Sutherland shop was chosen for the cover of a book, produced by the council, to mark the shire’s centenary in 2006.
“We held our own function in Sutherland Entertainment Centre to celebrate the centenary, and customers were chosen by ballot to attend,” Mr Stapleton said.