The Shambles is often regarded as tourist territory, but was historically York’s meat district. From 26 Butchers recorded on the street in 1872, now only Shambles Butchers remains. They are one of the few butcher shops left in the entire city, as many local butchers suffered in the wake of the economic downturn.
Those who have survived are completely reliant on customer loyalty. Small businesses were hit hard by the recession, but there is something of a revival happening in York, with many small ‘foody’ companies springing up all across the city. In an economic and ecological environment that has left us hyper-aware of cost and quality, we are more conscious of the origin, contents, and welfare of everything we eat. By supporting these brave little retailers, we’re putting money back into the local economy, rather than into the hands of big corporations.
Tucked away at the bottom of the Shambles lies Ye Olde Sausage Shoppe, a family-run business that is playing an important role in championing local produce, and the support network between local food retailers in the city. Approaching its second birthday, Ye Olde Sausage Shoppe is beginning to gain a reputation for its extensive range of traditional (and not so traditional) sausages and pork pies.
Rob Wilson started making sausages in his kitchen for friends and family, and their popularity gave the family the inspiration to set up shop (managed by Rob’s daughter Kayleigh) and take their sausages to the people of York. Several awards and competition wins later, the business continues to grow, with demand for their pork pies ever increasing.
The Wilson’s are focussed on sourcing and incorporating quality local produce into their sausages and pies. Their fresh meat is sourced from Anna’s Happy Trotters, a free-range pig farm in Howden, East Yorkshire, they use York Brewery Centurion Ghost Ale in their ‘York’ sausage, and fresh chillies in the ‘Chilli Dog’, grown by the Yorkshire Chilli company, amongst other locally produced items.
By forming these connections between local businesses, and incorporating a variety of Yorkshire-grown produce into their sausages and pies, the company is helping to support re-growth and regeneration in the local area.
Image courtesy of Holly Orton