Westridge and The Ridge Meats
Local couple Luke and Michelle Jensen, invested in Westridge and The Ridge Meats in June 2017. While they have only run the businesses a short while, they have been able to take the small butchery to new heights.
Luke and Michelle employ 15 team members across their two business locations. In addition to their team, Michelle notes there are approximately 700 local families involved in getting their product from paddock to plate. With a strong focus on locally sourced produce, Luke and Michelle endeavor to source from farms within a 100km radius of Toowoomba. “We take great care in buying only the very best locally produced livestock. Our lambs are selected by our trusted producer at the Warwick sale yard each week, our pigs come from the Pilton Valley and our MSA yearling beef comes from the grassy paddocks of Killarney”.
Twelve months after the couple’s son Hugh was born, the Jensen’s decided they wanted their family to have the flexibility afforded by operating your own business. “We needed more. We wanted to create generational change”. Luke has been a butcher for 15 years and had spent the 4 years prior to purchasing the business managing Westridge Meats, when the previous owners approached him with an offer to purchase the business. “Initially we weren’t going to invest in a butcher shop”, says Luke. “But when this opportunity came up it was too good to pass up”.
After beginning their journey as businesses owners with not one but two new businesses, the Jensen’s knew they would need support. Michelle shares that the initial decision to use McConachie Stedman was by default. “We chose to continue the relationship the previous owners had with McConachie Stedman for continuity in our business”. After their initial meeting with Director Mick Harding, the decision to stay with McConachie Stedman was solidified. “Mick had a plan, it was factual, it was clear, it was love at first sight for us! It was clear that Mick wanted to see success for us and was on our team”.
It has not all been smooth sailing though, and the new business owners have faced their share of challenges. Michelle recalls, “The 12-18 month mark was a very challenging time, but Mick had the courage to have some really difficult conversations with us, and it is through those conversations that he managed to get us back on track. Mick met with us monthly, he gave us tasks and held us accountable, so we weren’t sinking anymore, he empowered us to swim”. With the business now back on track, Luke and Michelle have continued to meet with Mick on a quarterly basis. “What I (Michelle) really love about that quarterly meeting is that we get really clear optics, a full financial report on how we are progressing and direction on what we need to keep working on.”
With the business back on track and continuing to grow, Luke and Michelle have been able to put more of their energy into giving back to the community. The couple offer sponsorships and product donations to local not-for-profits with a particular interest in organisations and dedicate their time to improving, health, wellbeing and education for young people. Westridge and The Ridge Meats have a 25 year history of providing a quality and award winning range of small goods to the Toowoomba community. With Luke and his team returning to traditional butchering techniques to promote quality, freshness and consistency, we are looking forward to seeing their business continue to grow and succeed.