IT HAS been Jason O'Loughlin's dream for the past nine and a half years, and last Thursday that dream came true when he and his wife Tracey opened the doors to the Fair Dinkum Meats butcher shop in Emerald.
"So far we've had a great response,” he said.
"I've wanted to open a butcher shop in Emerald since we moved here in February 2008.
"I looked all around Emerald trying to find the right location with a rent that was suitable. It took all this time to find the right mix of rent and location.”
In the past week since opening the doors, MrO'Loughlin said the sausages had proven very popular with customers, given his claim to the Sausage King title earlier this year and in 2015.
A butcher by trade, MrO'Loughlin opened his first Central Highlands store in Springsure in 2013, and his business and popularity grew from there.
"Springsure was the first spot I found. It had been a butcher shop since 1868 but it had closed for two years before we came and bought it,” he said.
"I never expected to have the response we got. It goes to show that if you have the right quality, value and service, that's what people want.”
Mr and Mrs O'Loughlin then opened a store in Blackwater in July last year and said customers could expect great taste and service at all three stores.
The couple place a strong emphasis on employing locally, with nine trainees and apprentices employed to learn from Mr O'Loughlin, who has worked throughout Australia and in all types of butcheries.
"I am passionate about passing on my knowledge to my staff,” he said.
Mr O'Loughlin said it gave customers the confidence of knowing that regardless of which store they visited, they could rely on his butchers for knowledge and advice on all cuts of meat.
With the Emerald store now up and running, the new dream for MrO'Loughlin is to open his own bacon factory - when the time is right.
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