Thursday, March 28, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Masterful 15 Years At Master Butchers Whitsunday, Stewart Drive

In the heart of Cannonvale, Master Butchers Whitsundays’ first storefront sits proudly as the flagship of a business that has expanded and diversified over the years, growing from just four staff to now over 40 dedicated team members across four locations. It boasts several beautifully stocked display cabinets offering a range of cuts and tantalising mealtime choices, a Himalayan salt dry-aging coolroom, freezers packed with tender treats and shelves sparkling with an array of rubs and salts dedicated to maximising your dinner experience.

It's hard to believe that 15 years ago, the store was on the verge of closing down, until Don Cameron and Karen Rix purchased the business and infused it with both passion and expertise. Their dedication and ability to deliver high quality produce and creative meal options has given Master Butchers Whitsunday an almost cult-like following among discerning foodies across the region. In fact, their quality meats are so sought after, they opened a second store, MBW On The Barbie at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre, then a third store, MBW at Marian and also a Wholesale Centre which supplies the majority of local restaurants.

Two years ago, Karen and Don welcomed Alex Wordsworth and his partner Danielle Carr into the business, officially handing over the reins to them as managers and part owners of Master Butchers Whitsunday. Karen and Don still retain a majority percentage in the store at this point but that will change each year. While remaining proud owners of the other three businesses the couple are excited to see a new generation lead the way as part of their overall succession plan. This plan ensures Whitsunday residents will always receive the same friendly service and quality meats from their local butcher.

Originally from Tasmania, Don became a butcher by pursuing an apprenticeship when he finished school at age 16. By the age of 23, he had purchased the store and become a business owner in his own right. Meanwhile, Karen worked in retail sales and the finance industry, before moving into the foodservice sector which gave her vital experience for her future ventures with Don.

The couple met in 2007 when they operated neighbouring businesses and soon after, following a holiday to the Whitsundays, they decide to relocate to Queensland.

Don first met Alex in Tasmania when he worked as an apprentice at one of Dons shops, and since then has become a father-figure and mentor to the young man. As a result, the pair have a similar work ethic, standard of service and eye for a good cut of meat. Several years after Don and Karen left Tasmania, Alex relocated north to join them at the shop. After a few years he decided to take a break from the industry and accepted a General Managers role at Banjos Bar and Bistro, which is where he met the love of his life, Danielle.

The couple now have a beautiful three-and-a-half-year-old son together. Danielle is originally from Camden, NSW, but moved to the Whitsundays as a teenager and attended Proserpine State High School. With the opportunity to take a gap year between studies, Danielle landed a job at Banjos Bar and Grill where she met Alex. Discussions of owning a business together had always been on the cards so when Don and Karen offered them the opportunity to purchase Master Butchers Whitsunday, they jumped at the idea.

Alex’s passion for butchering and his managerial experience have him at the helm of the business. Meanwhile Danielle has spent the last few years learning the inner workings of the business from the accounts, marketing and administration plus completing her certificate in Meat Processing. With their years of working in customer service together, they create a happy and positive vibe at the store, one where customers always feel welcome and appreciated.

“We wouldn’t be able to do any of this and grow the business the way we are, if it wasn’t for our incredible team of dedicated staff and our amazing customer base,” said Danielle.

“We all work together, and if we don’t have something at our store, we will ring Karen at MBW On The Barbie to see if they have it there.

“It’s about making sure the community gets what they want at one of our locations and that is something that we’ve all stood for and will continue to uphold.”

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