Business owner who took the risk of opening a Leamington store during the pandemic is celebrating his first anniversary
Many locals will be familiar with Ben, as he runs the market stall and online business, Ben’s Biltong
A business owner that braved the pandemic and opened a store in Leamington is celebrating his first year milestone.
While many businesses were forced to close their doors due to restrictions, Ben Rushforth, from Ben’s Meat and Heat Emporium, took a leap of faith and in June last year opened his food business on Portland Street.
It’s been a tough year for small businesses but Ben’s Meat and Heat Emporium has now reached the one year milestone and is celebrating this Saturday.
Many locals will be familiar with Ben, as he runs the market stall and online business, Ben’s Biltong.
Ben’s Biltong produces South African biltong and droewors and has been a regular at many of Warwickshire’s annual festivals over the last few years including the Warwick, Leamington, Stratford and Kenilworth food and drink festivals.
The Ben’s Biltong online shop is also highly successful and sells his range of biltong and droewors all across the UK.
Ben had been planning to open his shop in early 2020 but due to the pandemic put it on hold.
When it became clear that the pandemic was here for the long term, Ben threw caution to the wind and opened the doors to Ben’s Meat and Heat Emporium.
Ben said: "I wasn’t sure if opening during the pandemic was a good idea but I’d already leased the shop, begun fitting it out and ordered stock.
"My income was also reduced as I couldn’t run my market stall and I didn’t qualify for any government funding. There was nothing to lose."
The store not only stocks Ben's own range of biltong and droewors but also a large range of other South African snacks and alcohol.
Due to Ben’s love of all things BBQ and chilli, the Emporium also a stocks a big selection of BBQ and chilli products including sauces, seasonings, rubs and chutneys and jams.
Ben is keen to support other local businesses through his shop and stocks quite a few products produced by other Warwickshire businesses.
He stocks products from Leamington based Prices Spices, Shakespeare Seasonings in Stratford and Springfield Kitchen in Rugby to name a few.
Ben’s Heat and Meat Emporium is having a birthday celebration this Saturday (June 26) from 10am-5pm. Ben will be cooking some boerewors (South African sausages) on the braai and serving up some boerie rolls between 12pm to 2pm.
He will also be offering a 10 per cent discount on all purchases made in the shop throughout the day.
Ben added: "I didn’t get to have a grand opening due to the pandemic and it’s now my first birthday.
"I really want to thank my customers, many of whom are South African, for their continued support and a braai seemed like a fitting way to celebrate."
Ben’s Meat and Heat Emporium can be found in the basement of 29 Portland street in Leamington, and is usually open on Fridays from 12pm-7pm and Saturdays from