6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Grange-over-Sands is famous for many things, including its terrific food

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 November 2013

Stuart Higginson

Stuart Higginson

Archant

Thirty years running one of Britain’s best butcher’s is marked with a very special treat. Our pie correspondent Ellie Hargreaves grabbed a napkin and headed to Grange-over-Sands.

It was with a modest range of fresh meat, a handful of homemade pies and a healthy dose of ambition that Stuart and Pauline Higginson set out on the path to success when they came home from Australia to set up their Grange-over-Sands butcher’s business in the summer of 1983.

In the years that have passed they’ve appeared with celebrity chefs on TV, campaigned for the Cumberland Sausage to be given place of origin protection, and even been upgraded to business class on a flight to New York after the woman working on the airport check-in desk recognised the surname and Stuart’s accent. It turns out she was one of the shop’s biggest fans. And that’s not to mention the countless industry awards they’ve won – including the Meat Trade Journal’s Britain’s Best Butcher gong.

Now, to mark the 30th birthday of the business, they’ve not only completely refurbished the Main Street shop and have a new website in the offing, but launched a collection of celebration pies that are set to overtake cupcakes on the wish list of every savoury-toothed birthday boy and girl.

‘Perfect gifts for the man who has everything,’ according to Pauline, the large pie-cakes are ideal for slicing and sharing, while individual-sized varieties can be bought in assorted boxes, or as a dramatic tier of mini pies. The sponge is swapped for a succulent meat filling and crisp hot water pastry takes the place of icing. They can also be topped with names and messages.

‘They’re a bit of fun but they also travel better than a cake, we can send them via mail order and what’s great is that the flavour is only really limited by the customer’s imagination,’ she says. ‘They might choose something traditional like turkey and cranberry or go for a delicious layered chicken, pork and apricot pie or something more unusual like black pudding, pork and apple or an exotic Moroccan-spiced chicken and pork.’

A qualified cook, Pauline has been known to turn her hand to creating elaborate wedding cakes too – a move that first came about in 1998, after Higginsons was nominated in the Best Speciality Shop category at the BBC Good Food Show Awards and the couple were invited to attend a ceremony in London.

‘Although we didn’t win, we had a fantastic evening and a couple of months later the producer of the programme, Coralie, came up to visit the shop,’ recalls Stuart. ‘She was soon to be married and in the middle of planning her wedding and she was the first person to ask us for a pork pie wedding cake. Since then, we’ve had a few random requests but it’s only with the new website that we’ve decided to do it more seriously and we’ve already had orders from as far away as Scotland.’

The couple have come a long way since they returned from Australia to open the shop just a fortnight after they had their third child, Lisa – a Melbourne-based food writer whose early years were spent being swung to sleep in the stainless steel bowl of Pauline’s first industrial pastry mixer.

Starting out with just a small team of close family and friends, Higginsons has grown to employ 27 staff – without whom, says Stuart, the business would not be what it is today. Their loyal band of customers hail from as far afield as London and Devon and they sell more than 1,000 product lines.

‘The years have gone that fast we’ve hardly had time to notice,’ he says. ‘But truthfully, we feel very lucky and privileged that we’re still going strong, thanks to the support of our family and the loyalty of our staff and customers. And we’re also very lucky that we still enjoy doing it all these years later.’

What’s the secret of success when supermarkets are popping up all around them? ‘Consumer tastes have dictated the change to more convenient items and nowadays they can access an ever-expanding range of flavours from around the world but we’ve done our best to keep abreast of these changes,’ says Stuart, who will personally celebrate half a century of butchering next year. ‘We also feel very strongly about supporting local ingredients and suppliers and I think, more than anything, consumers like the personal touch.’

Indeed, always with his customers in mind, Pauline says Stuart goes quiet for months if he has to put the price of his sausages up by a few pence. ‘He likes to look out for our customers,’ she laughs.

Creating new products like their pie-cakes and constantly thinking of innovative ‘food experiences’ for their customers still clearly excites the couple and it is a testament to their tenacity and enthusiasm that Higginsons looks destined for continued success. And for that, the least they deserve is a slice of celebration pie.

www.higginsonsofgrange.co.uk

0 comments

More from Food & Drink

Ad Feature: The Cherry Tree

Mon, 12:02

An independent restaurant and bar concentrating on serving our take on classic dishes with modern influences, using only the freshest local produce.

Read more
Mon, 09:17

Time for you to help us find the Lancashire Life 2017 Food and Drink Award winners

Read more
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Italian food is child’s play at an award-winning restaurant in Bolton-le-Sands. Emma Mayoh reports

Read more
Italian Food
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Digest this mini review in 60 seconds.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Spanish Food
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Classic dishes with a modern influence using locally sourced produce.

Read more
Monday, March 13, 2017

Sharrow Bay continue with their great value three course lunch at £22.50 throughout March.

Read more
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wigan’s foodie scene is a lot more than just pies as it is bursting with delicious offerings – so we’ve chosen some of the best restaurants serving up some visual treats to get your taste buds tingling.

Read more
Wigan Instagram
Monday, March 6, 2017

Spinningfields is renowned for its huge selection of trendy and quirky bars and restaurants, arguably becoming the new ‘it’ place to socialise in Manchester in recent years. We’ve put together a guide to some of the best restaurants in serving up afternoon tea with a Spinningfields twist.

Read more
Afternoon Tea Spinningfields Manchester
Thursday, March 2, 2017

With a gold star chef, top local produce and a family carrying on a family tradition, Provenance has all the ingredients of a successful business. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants Lancashire Food
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Every day from 5pm.

Read more

Ad Feature: Rothay Manor Hotel

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nestled in the heart of the English Lake District, Rothay Manor is an elegant country house retreat...

Read more
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle is arguably one of the most exciting parts of the city as not only has it become a hub for creativity and innovation, but it is also home to a plethora of popular and unique eateries that are a must visit for foodies. We’ve selected some of the best foodie instagram accounts from the Baltic Triangle to get your taste buds tingling including gourmet hotdogs, quirky afternoon tea and a good old roast.

Read more
Instagram Liverpool
Sunday, February 12, 2017

We’ve chosen some of the best Instagram accounts in and around Lytham that are serving up some fine dining visual delights to their followers.

Read more
Lytham Lancashire Restaurants Instagram
Friday, February 10, 2017

Craig Wilkinson never intended to stay in the family business but he and his wife are now leading The Bay Horse at Ellel near Lancaster into its 25th year. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Lancashire Restaurants Pubs and Bars Lancaster

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Lancashire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search