Helping rural business to
start, develop and grow.


Case Study – AJ Holmes Butchers

Located in the beautiful village that is Tissington, AJ Holmes is a Butchers Shop offering fantastic, top quality fresh meat at affordable prices. They also offer homemade sausage rolls, quiche and pork pies all cooked fresh in house.

Their business journey so far

Andrew Holmes has learnt his trade over the last 15 years working for a bespoke butchery in Ashbourne. He loved his job but worried about the long term security of it and decided in 2018 the time was right to branch out and start running a shop of his own. He began looking at available properties in the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District but knew that he didn’t want to be based in Ashbourne rivalling his old boss. Suitable premises were hard to find. However Andrew put feelers out in the trade and found out about an existing shop that was trading below par, only open part-time and had locals worried that the business may permanently close. Lease negotiations began and within 3 months AJ Holmes Butchers of Tissington opened.

The shop is now open 10am – 4pm Tuesday through to Saturday and 10am – 2pm every Sunday. The address is The Old Slaughter House, Chapel Lane, TISSINGTON, Derbyshire, DE6 1RA and phone orders are welcome on 01335 350186.

Goals and aspirations

Andrew aspires to run a successful and viable business. He hopes to build sustainable, local supplier relationships so that he can offer his customers Derbyshire produce of the highest standards.  His short term goal is to be profitable enough to employ staff as he would love to create extra employment in the area. He wants to understand and get to know his customers as this means that he is getting repeat business and he can then target his produce towards their requests.


Andrew has taken part in several workshops with Growing Rural Enterprise, as part of the SCR Launchpad Project, part funded by Derbyshire Dales District Council. He has benefited from attending New Business Idea- how to make it work, Marketing and Promotion, Cash Flow Forecasting and site visits. Andrew says that the support he has had from GRE Ltd has been ‘fantastic’:

“Julie and Nick (from GRE) have always been available, either at the end of the phone for any questions or on email. Their support and mentorship is great and they always give constructive, supportive answers. It has been brilliant to have their experience to lean on.’”

What has been the biggest challenge and what advice would he give to others?

Andrew says:

“Running your own business is so much harder than expected as all the work behind the scenes was not something I was fully aware of. However if I could turn the clock back 6 months I would still tell myself to go for it. It’s a big step but I’m glad I took the plunge, even with the madness of Christmas 6 weeks into trading, take it all in your stride and get the right advice and support around you.”