Name: Ronny Villiva
Business address: 112A Langtree Avenue
Social media: Facebook – The Butcher Mildura
Open since: 2015
Langtree Avenue has certainly changed since Ronny Villiva first started his butchery apprenticeship at The Butcher Mildura in 1984.
Fast forward 35 years and a handful of career changes and Ronny is back to where it all began, but this time he’s at the helm with his wife Lisa.
The couple took on The Butcher Mildura six years ago after it had been closed for about 18 months.
“Before that it was always a butcher,” Ronny says.
“The location was always good – it’s always known to be a good shop. It’s been here about 80 years.”
While Ronny admits re-establishing the shop to its former days has had its challenges, through hard work he and the team have become part of people’s shopping routine in the city heart.
“The industry’s hard at the moment, with the price of stock and drought, but we’ve built up a good clientele over the years,” he says.
“We’re all about good quality, old-school style, with fresh cuts daily.
“Nothing’s cryovacced – everything’s hand done. And we’re really conscious of allergies and making sure things are gluten and nut-free.”
Ronny says the shopping scene in Langtree Avenue has changed since his apprenticeship, with increased foot traffic keeping The Butcher Mildura busy.
“With Woolies across the road, it’s competition, but competition is a good thing,” he says.
“We try to keep things as local as possible. It’s hands on and people like that – they can ask questions and have things cut just how they want it.”
What’s Mildura City Heart’s best kept secret?
“Everybody knows everybody. People recommend others. Everyone works as a team in the city heart.”
What does shopping local mean to you?
“Shopping local means putting food on the table for the children, clothes on their backs, eduction. If everyone was shopping online we’d have problems. The little guys keep the big ones honest, too.”
Other than your own store, what is your favourite shop within Mildura City Heart?
“I work a lot, but when we’re not working we like Chemist Warehouse, which brings a massive amount of people to this spot.”