MEAT MARKET: Aratula Butchery co-owner Kane Lutter is happy the business is growing steadily after a difficult start.
MEAT MARKET: Aratula Butchery co-owner Kane Lutter is happy the business is growing steadily after a difficult start. David Nielsen

Battling butchers raise the steaks

OPENING a business is tough at the best of times but for Kane Lutter and Marshall Chalk it has been tougher than for most.

The pair opened the Aratula Butchery in November 2012 in the face of floods and the Cunningham Gap closure choking the small town's retailers.

To raise the steaks Kane and Marshall don't just manage the shop - they farm their own cattle.

Kane Lutter said business had been getting better but it was a struggle to begin with.

"For months we didn't get any pay. We had to pay our staff so we paid them and we paid our suppliers and all that, but we went for months without pay," Mr Lutter said.

"Lucky the wife's working."

The tough times aren't over yet, with the Scenic Rim region officially drought declared since August.

"Having to buy feed and keeping a good supply of cattle is pretty hard. Just buying feed all the time and the price of it just keeps going up," he said.

Although not all the meat for sale at the Aratula Butchery comes from Kane and Marshall's farms, the meat they don't raise themselves they source from other local farmers.

As the cost of raising cattle in the area goes up, so do meat prices, although the Aratula butchers try not to put prices up too much.

"We haven't put much of a margin in, probably about 50 cents a kilo. It just goes up with the beef prices as they go up," Mr Lutter said.

Many of the shop's customers come from out of town so Mr Lutter is hoping for rain - but not too much rain - this summer.

"We need early rain so we can get some grass, then nice fine weekends so people go camping," he said.



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