WHEN Darryl Nunn was a 13-year-old apprentice butcher walking on sawdust in his first butcher shop, there were 28 independently owned butcher shops in Orange.
On Friday - his last day on the job before heading into retirement - Mr Nunn is reflecting on the many changes in the industry since he was a lad.
"In the early days there wasn't the variety in butcher shops you get now - it was just steak, chops, a roast, mince and sausages.
Over the years he says he's noticed a societal shift with more men now shopping for and cooking the family's meat.
"Years ago it was just the woman who came in to the shop but now I would say it is a about fifty fifty men and women," he said.
After his early years as an apprentice at Col Livingston's Butcher Shop on Bathurst Road (in the D'Aquino's building) he moved to the central business district.
"I started working at Joe Kelly's Summer Street Meats and I remember it was a big deal when we got the first refrigerated meat cabinet in Orange in the 1960's," he said.
He said the introduction of home freezers also revolutionised the way people purchased and stored their meat at home, taking advantage of specials.
He says he looks back with a degree of sadness that many butcher shops could not survive the pressures of the supermarket duopoly.
"It was just too hard for them to survive - the supermarkets made it too hard for them," he said.
Mr Nunn sold his business to Jay and Nicole Parkes in January.
"But I promised I would stay on to help them with the transition," he says.
Although he started work when he was just in to his teenage years, Mr Nunn says he the hours are longer now than they were 45 years ago.
"I used to start work at 7am when I was a young bloke and finish at 6pm.
"These days you finish at the same time but you have to start at 4am - it seems harder," he said.
Mr Nunn said he has no long term plans for his well earned retirement.
"First its a big holiday," he said.
However he says he will enjoy maintaining contact with customers by going back to work a few hours on a casual basis at the shop when needed.