Butcher wins support of dragon

An Aldershot butcher who braved BBC2’s Dragon’s Den, has come out smiling after telecoms tycoon Peter Jones invested £80,000 to help him take his new sausage business into the multiples.

Third generation family butcher Paul Turner of A Turner and Sons in Aldershot, had already been offered a supermarket contract after selling over 74,000 sausages in a nationwide promotion with Tesco for Help for Heroes last year, but lacked the funding and capacity to cover the marketing costs associated with maintaining a nationwide supermarket listing.

He told MeatInfo.co.uk that he had been unwilling to re-mortgage his house solely to fund the sausage listing and had decided to find an alternative way to come up with the money so that he didn’t have to walk away from the contract. He said: “We’ve done some work with Tesco over the last two years and we were offered a national contract, but there are marketing budgets that come with that. I was staring down the barrel of a lot of money and it was either stay with it or leave it. But I thought I could find another way of getting the money - and we got the full amount from Peter Jones.”

Appearing on the show for budding entrepreneurs, which was aired on Sunday (28 October), a visibly nervous Turner fed the dragons with some of his range of premium, traditional butchers’ sausages, and pitched a 20% stake in A Turner Sausage Company in exchange for £80,000 to cover marketing, development and promotion costs. He pointed out the provenance of the products, which are made to his grandfather’s recipes, and that he had already won a series of awards, with two of the sausages winning the title of Britain’s best sausage in Bpex's National Sausage Week competition, in 2011 and 2012.

Despite agreeing the products were “excellent”, three of the four dragons argued that there was a level of brand’s confusion that needed to be addressed, and that the returns Turner had seen on last year’s promotion made it a tough proposition.

Peter Jones agreed that investing in the new business was “too high risk”, but said he was prepared to offer the full amount in exchange for a 33% stake in the butchers’ shop business that Turner co-owns with his brother. Despite some hesitation, Turner cut a deal, negotiating that once Jones made back the £80,000, which he estimated would take 12 months, Jones’s stake would be transferred from the butchers’ shop business back into the sausage business.

Afterwards, Turner said he was “thrilled to bits” with the outcome.

Since the show was filmed, the cash injection has allowed the new business to make considerable progress, according to Turner. He said: “It means we are deciding the licensing agreement with Tulip and they are now our manufacturer and on 6 November we will supply the Co-op with our product and then Asda.”