John Elvy – Leichhardt’s corner street butcher

Leichhardt’s own corner street butcher John Elvy  hanging up the apron after 30years of serving the Leichhardt community.

WHEN Leichhardt institution Elvy?s Meats finally closes its doors, it will be the end of an era for the suburb.

For almost 60 years, the family-run butcher’s shop has been serving the choicest cuts to inner west meat lovers.

Owner and local identity John Elvy, 68, has decided to retire to spend more time with his wife Robyn, his two adult children and two grandchildren, and the shop and attached residence is now for sale.

The shop was opened in 1954 by Mr Elvy’s father, Ted, and his mother Marjorie also worked there.

As a child Mr Elvy would help out after school and he and his brother used to deliver meat orders in the area on their bicycles.

Mr Elvy took over the popular business in 1973, and he has seen dramatic changes in the suburb over the years.

Leichhardt has gone from being very industrial with factories and manufacturing to becoming mostly residential,” he said.

“When we came here in the 50s there was a lot of Italian migration to the suburb and I learnt how to serve our Italian customers by taking them into the cool room and having them point out what they wanted.

“Now there are probably only 20 Italian families that I serve and the number of Italian people has dwindled as they moved on to other suburbs.”

Mr Elvy said he remembered a time when lamb shanks and cutlets were cheap as chips and he has also seen independent butchers struggle to compete with supermarket giants like Coles and Woolworths.

“We have been successful because we ran it as a family business and as a traditional butchery, with all cuts prepared in the traditional way,” he said.

“I have people come at Christmas time from out of town to shop with us and I have seen different generations of the same family. The little ones have grown up now and are coming in with their own families.”

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