Dicksons pork butchers

Michael Dickson to become Dicksons chairman as Chris Hayman moves into Managing Director role

We are delighted to announce Chris Hayman, previously Head of Sales, will take up the role of Managing Director following the decision by Michael Dickson to move into the role of Executive Chairman. Michael Dickson has been at the helm of the family business for over 25 years and has taken the business from a small group of shops in South Tyneside to a thriving food manufacture and retailing business employing over 300 staff. Michael Dickson, now Chairman comments: “It’s been commonly accepted for some time by staff, colleagues and family that we would make such an appointment to allow me to move to the role of company chair. Given how integrated Chris is within Dicksons and how involved he has been in the future strategy of the business, passing operational matters over as the first non-family managing director of the company has been a process rather than an event. “This is an appointment we’ve planned for several years and which was the main driver behind the formation of a family (shareholder) council in 2008. The family council was set up with the clear intention of maintaining family participation and ownership, while accepting the business might not remain under close day-to-day family direction. Although my daughter Elena remains in a senior-level role as Marketing Director and son, Dr Matthew Dickson, is current Chair of the family council. “Growth expectations in our wholesale business will necessitate further expansion of the factory in the next 12 months. We’re also planning a 50% increase in our retail estate by 2019 taking us to 40 sites so now is the right time for Chris to drive forward the many positive changes taking place to secure the future for the business and that of our long serving team. “Chris has had a truly remarkable impact on the business in the two years that he’s been with us. He’s not only gained the support and respect of the wider staff but understands the family values on which our business has been built on. Succession planning has been a consideration for quite some time and I have every confidence that Chris will lead our newly restructured senior team to build on recent momentum in the retail and wholesale divisions. “It’s a time of change but also an exciting period of growth for Dicksons and one which Chris and the team will be leading with my support.” Chris Hayman previously worked at multinational food retailer McDonalds for over 16 years before joining in 2014 to manage Dicksons retail division. His management skills, extensive food retailing experience and chemistry with staff has given the company a fresh new approach after 63 years serving the North East. Chris Hayman, newly appointed managing director said: “When I first arrived at Dicksons, the change in culture from a multi-national to a much-loved family business was a revelation but one which I embraced wholeheartedly. The business has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and modifications to our retail model and new shops have brought us to a new audience eager to try both the traditional and new products that continue to make Dicksons such a strong brand in the region. “The willingness in our retail division to readily adapt to customers’ changing needs carries through to the fast growing wholesale side of the business, where Dicksons reputation for the production of quality food products remains strong. We are now in the midst of planning a factory expansion to meet this increase in demand and help future-proof the business to deliver for clients on a national, as well as regional, scale. “Michael Dickson has been the driving force behind Dicksons for so many decades that stepping into the managing director role was one which I had to consider carefully. Michael’s input in day-to-day operational concerns will reduce but we’ll continue to work closely together on strategic matters for the next two years as so the business can continue to benefit from his decades of experience. “Looking ahead to the future, I’m committed to ensuring Dicksons retains the family ethos so important to our customers and employees and will continue to work with not only Michael and, marketing director Elena but also engage with the wider family council, all of whom take a real interest in the business and their employees.” Chris will now be leading on a range of new initiatives at Dicksons to help the business expand in both the retail and wholesale markets. The business is planning four new shop openings in 2016 alone, with the long-term plan to increase the Dicksons retail presence to 40 shops within three years a determined focus. In addition, a plan to modernise equipment and expand space within the factory is currently being rolled out to support the wholesale division in a bid to increase efficiency and compete in markets on a regional and national level – this expansion should see staff numbers approach 450 by 2019. Chris comments: “Michael’s leadership over the past 25 years has been exceptional. It’s brought Dicksons to a point where we are now looking at growing our regional presence with a greater number of modern shops and an improved factory facility. I’m motivated by the enthusiasm of the excellent team here at Dicksons. There’s a genuine desire to make this much-loved brand achieve even greater things and we look forward to seeing what the future brings to our thriving family business.”
north east food

Retirement Beckons for Husband and Wife Team after 25 Years Service at Dicksons

  A husband and wife team who have been keeping the people of the North East fully stocked with their favourite sausages and pies are retiring after 25 years service within the Dicksons team. Ellen and Graham Hunter from Hebburn, have been working within the region’s food industry for nearly half a century and have spent the last 25 years with Dicksons. Ellen is leaving first having trained a colleague to cover her desk. She was honoured at a ceremony at the family firm’s South Shields production facility, attended by co-workers. Graham’s retirement plans have had to be put on hold until later this year to allow him to bring to a conclusion several exciting projects aimed at readying the factory for further growth. Dicksons Managing Director, Michael Dickson, was on hand to thank them both for their faithful service to the business. Ellen said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my years with Dicksons and it has been a pleasure coming to work everyday with such committed, loyal and caring colleagues.  Graham and I have worked together throughout our professional careers in the industry and are now looking forward to our retirement together but in honesty, I’m excited by the prospect of the slight head start I’ll have while Graham finishes off what he has started in the factory.” Ellen and Graham began their careers with the Hilkert family in the early 1970’s and together ran the Morpeth factory for that family, producing mainly hams and sausage. After Dicksons acquired the business in 1990, luckily Ellen and Graham came as part of the package, bringing with them a wealth of experience and expertise in food production. Michael Dickson said: “It’s a sad day when you say goodbye to one member of staff and get ready to bid farewell to another who, together, have played such an important role in the success of our business for so long. “When Ellen and Graham began working for Dicksons we had half a dozen shops and just over 100 staff.  Today, Dicksons manages a network of 30 shops and employs more than 300 staff throughout the region – a remarkable achievement which has been made possible thanks to the loyalty and hard work of valued colleagues such as Ellen and Graham. “We will greatly miss the ever optimistic and hard-working Ellen who’s sunny disposition and kindness made her great to have around but as a small consolation to her leaving, we’re hanging on to Graham for just a little while longer so he can see through the current factory projects in the way only he knows how. “We hope Ellen, and in time Graham, enjoy their well-deserved retirement and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their enormous contribution to the Dicksons business and the region’s food industry.”
Dicksons Battle Hill

Dicksons opens shop number 26 in Battle Hill

We're expanding again! We are delighted to announce that our newest shop in Battle Hill opened at the beginning of December The new shop will bring Dicksons' popular range to a growing audience in North Tyneside, following the opening of their popular Whitley Bay branch in 2014. The Battle Hill shop will be selling a wide selection of products to customers, including freshly made sandwiches, a range of fresh deli meats and delicious baked products. Following on from a busy 12 months in which we have opened in Peterlee, Cramlington and Pelaw, the Battle Hill store signifies a successful end to 2015.   Dicksons Managing Director, Michael Dickson, says: “We’ve been planning to grow our retail presence in North Tyneside for some time after the successful opening of a new café-style shop in Whitley Bay town centre last Autumn. “We’re always looking for new locations in the region and are keen to open in local high streets and shopping centres. The positive reception in Whitley Bay led to us look for opportunities across the Borough and Battle Hill was a natural choice.” The new Battle Hill shop takes the number of employees at the family firm to 300, employed both in the South Shields production facility and retail outlets across the North East. Michael continues: “Battle Hill will be offering the full range of fresh food and food-to-go options including our popular signature sandwich and hot food menu, as well as Dicksons’ traditional fayre. “The opening has already received a very positive reception via our social media pages with North Tyneside customers happy to be closer to enjoying a lunchtime Saveloy Dip or a hot Dicksons pie to keep out the cold and we’re looking forward to welcoming customers, old and new, in Battle Hill .”  
dicksons peterlee

Dicksons Heads South

We are delighted to announce that our 25th shop has recently opened in Peterlee's Castle Dene Shopping Centre. The first Dicksons shop to be opened in the South East of the region, we are looking forward to bringing our food to a new audience and creating jobs in the process. The launch of Peterlee follows two shop openings in North Tyneside and Northumberland over the past year, as Dicksons continues to invest in the retail arm of the business at key North East locations. And we are pleased to announce that a further two outlets are set to open over the next six months - the first of which will be Battle Hill, opening at the start of December. Our Managing Director, Michael Dickson, said: “This is a landmark new shop opening for Dicksons and one we have been working towards for quite some time. Our business is very well-known in the north of the region but customers wishing to purchase our products south of Sunderland have been restricted to visiting one of the region’s supermarkets to sample our range. “We have built a strong customer following over the past 62 years for our heritage range of products but, recently, we started to receive repeated requests from customers via social media to expand our presence further south. “Given our recent shop openings in Whitley Bay and Cramlington, the time was right to broaden our reach with a new, different style of outlet at Castle Dene Shopping Centre. Our Peterlee shop will be concentrating on delivering fresh, food-to-go options from our popular signature sandwich and hot food menu, in addition to Dicksons’ traditional offering – including the famous Saveloy Dip – to meet the demands of customers in this busy location.” The new retail expansion will bring the number of staff employed by the family firm across its retail network and South Shields production facility to almost 300. The Mayor of Peterlee, Cllr Mary Cartwright, was on hand to open the new shop and commented on the new business addition, saying “I am so pleased that the Dicksons family chose to open their new shop in Peterlee Town Centre. “It has been a long time since we had a local butcher and I’m sure the people of the area will enjoy the fresh produce at reasonable prices. It was a pleasure to help open the new shop and get a chance to meet new staff and chat to customers over a cup of tea in the Cafe section.” Peterlee is the first in what is planned to be a busy six months in the Dicksons retail division, as additional outlets both north and south of the region will bring the Dicksons brand of heritage products to a growing customer audience. Battle Hill will be followed by the opening of a Durham shop in the New Year. Michael Dicksons continues: “The next 12 months will certainly be an exciting time for Dicksons as we invest in locations with the potential to drive real growth in our retail arm. “Growing our presence in County Durham is the first step in our strategy to develop a broader geographical footprint for Dicksons and we look forward to serving new customers in even more areas throughout the region over the next 12 months.” Want to see us in your area? You can leave your suggestions on Facebook and Twitter.
christmas sandwich

Whitley Bay Students Get that Festive ‘Filling’ with Christmas Sandwich Competition

Last week we visited Marden Bridge Middle School in Whitley Bay to help students fill their food technology classes with that little bit more cheer.   Over 100 students from Marden Bridge's Year 8 class took part in a festive-themed competition to develop the most delicious sandwich they could. The brief had only one main rule – it must be a sandwich with a distinctly festive theme to give it a real Christmassy-edge. The aim of the project was to open up the world of food production to young people by offering support and insight into how a real commercial food product is created, while also coming up with a delicious new sandwich to give us that festive ‘filling’ ahead of the run up to Christmas.   The students did exceptionally well coming up with different creative varieties of sandwiches, all keen to have their design crowned winner - and see their creation sold in our Whitley bay store throughout the month of December. Emma Brown, Head of Food Technology at Marden Bridge Middle School said: “This project has been a great way to introduce our students to the world of food manufacturing in a fun and engaging way. From the design and marketing of a popular food product, to the nutritional balance and ingredients needed to create a sandwich with real appeal for Dicksons customers, both staff and students have enjoyed the chance to develop – and taste - an array of colourful sandwiches.” Working in pairs, the sandwiches were whittled down from over 50 entrants to just eight standout finalists. The judging panel - which included our very own Laura Denning and GrahamLandells - then had the task of selection an overall winner. After much deliberation, the Rap Up Warm Festwich was crowned victorious. Created by students Rachael Stephenson and Amy Bell, the mix of coronation chicken, pork and turkey won over the judges and rightfully earns its place in our Whitley Bay shop throughout December. Emma continues: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Dicksons to deliver such a fun and engaging project for our students. We always try to bring practical learning into our curriculum to balance theoretical work and in this case, students have really enjoyed creating something which will be sold in a real shop.” Meanwhile, Dicksons Managing Director, Michael Dickson, said: “As a family business, we are always looking at ways to engage with our local community and have previously run a series of successful education projects with local schools to bring the commercial world of food manufacturing to the food technology classroom. "Tastes and flavours are always changing and nowhere is the mix of ingredients quite as creative and interesting as they are amongst young people – it certainly makes for an interesting tasting session! “We were so pleased with the enthusiasm of students at Marden Bridge and were able to see for ourselves the level of research and detail that went into creating the final sandwiches. Amy and Rachael were very worthy winners and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all students for their hard work. We look forward to seeing the Rap Up Warm Festwich take pride of place at our Whitley Bay shop to delight Dicksons customers with the inspiring flavour combinations from the young people of Marden Bridge Middle School.”