Born and bred local Ben Hoffman knows the importance of supporting local business as the owner of Hoff's Quality Meats in Rutherford.
Mr Hoffman has been active in the Maitland community throughout his life, playing cricket for Maitland's Western Suburbs Cricket Club until he was 21, and playing soccer for Rutherford & North United Soccer Clubs.
Giving back to the Maitland community is a high priority for Mr Hoffman, who helps support a number of local sporting clubs and local businesses.
"We like to do a bit of sponsorship with local clubs - we sponsor Wests Cricket and Rutherford Soccer Club, and we donate meat raffle trays to North Soccer Club and Lochinvar Soccer Club. Wests Cricket is our biggest one."
According to Mr Hoffman, it is especially important to support small businesses during these lockdown periods.
"The more people support small local businesses, the more they put back into the community with sponsorships and things like that," he said.
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"In times like these a lot more people go back to supporting the smaller businesses.
"It's good for the community."
Through Hoff's Quality Meats, which he has been running for 7 years, Mr Hoffman is proud to work with the local fruit shop in Rutherford which helps both of their businesses.
"We put meat in the fruit shop's fridges on the weekend, because they're open all weekend and they're a local family run business as well... we support each other."
"The more everyone supports local small business, the more it helps the community."
Mr Hoffman grew up in Rutherford and, inspired by his grandfather who was also a butcher, undertook a butcher apprenticeship and has loved it ever since.
He says the best part of having a small business is getting to know the local Rutherford & Maitland community.
"We know the majority of our customers that come in."
Despite Hoff's Quality Meats being in close proximity to a number of supermarkets, Mr Hoffman isn't worried about the competition as the quality just isn't comparable.
"I've never really worried about the supermarkets because we sell a different quality of meat. We concentrate on top quality meat and nice friendly service, and that's something the supermarkets can't offer."
That's something the supermarkets can't offerBen Hoffman
That friendly service is something that certainly resonates with the community, Mr Hoffman explaining that getting to know the locals and regular customers is the most rewarding part of it all.
"People like to come in, have a chat and a laugh."
His employee Jake Fitzgibbon is also a Maitland local, and is now a fully qualified butcher.
According to Mr Hoffman, the thing that makes the Maitland area so special is the strength of the community.
"It's a good community, there are a lot of great sporting clubs and the area has grown so much compared to when I was a kid, and the council is really looking after all the fields here."
Mr Hoffman has no plans to ever live anywhere else, "I'm comfortable here, there are a lot of good people, facilities and schools in the area; pretty much everything we need," he said.
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