Fat Albert Smokehouse Ltd.

A family farming business that originated in 1913, now with three distinct revenue streams and a relationship with Leech & Partners that has grown for the last thirty years.

Some partnerships transcend the typical client accountant-client model and become something akin to that of a family – and the connection with the McLeods has become just that.

Fat Albert Smokehouse is a family owned and operated business in rural Canterbury who are proud to be apart of the artisan community

The Background.

Alasdair and Juliet McLeod and their two sons James and Thomas, along with their wives Shantelle and Jennifer farm 560 hectares of land in the Ashburton region; primarily dairy grazing and arable farming, with some beef cattle as well.

In 2009, James and Alasdair started a contracting business (McLeod Cultivation Ltd) with just one tractor. Fast forward to today with James and Shantelle managing this business, it now operates six tractors and has two full-time staff as well as three to four seasonal staff carrying out drilling and cultivating work.

In 2018, Alasdair, Juliet, Thomas and Jennifer purchased the Fairlie based Fat Albert Smokehouse, and now it operates from the farm. Alasdair, being a keen fisherman had smoked fish for a long time, so the move into a commercial venture seemed only natural. Alasdair, Juliet and Jennifer look after this business. The smokehouse smokes salmon under contract for High Country Salmon in Twizel and smokes duck for Ashburton based company Croziers. The business also sells Fat Albert’s wares at farmer’s markets offering salmon, duck and chorizo sausage.

That’s a few irons in the fire, but the McLeods can take the heat, thanks in part to their close ties with Accountant and Advisor Julie Inwood.

The Difference.

‘Julie has her finger on the pulse,’ says Thomas who manages the farm accounts. ‘She knows what is going on and she’s got her eye on us. Before buying the smokehouse business, we were talking to Julie about valuing it, looking into the viability of it etc.’

Add to that a recently implemented succession framework, and you begin to appreciate the level of compliance, business advice and planning that Leech & Partners have been offering to the McLeods.

‘Julie is great at coming out for a chat’, adds James, ‘She’s very accessible – always comfortable to talk about any part of the business – nothing’s a problem.’

Planning Ahead.

In the last seven years, the family have purchased strategic pieces of land to help expand the business. ‘Julie has helped with those,’ says Alasdair, ‘We saw good opportunities, she helped us move forward with confidence.’

Over the past 30 years, it’s not just the relationship that’s been important, but the use of technology too. ‘Everything used to be done with a manual cashbook,’ says Alasdair, ‘We were adding up numbers on a calculator as everyone did back then. Now with computers and appropriate software, it certainly saves us a lot of time and frustration.’

“‘Julie has her finger on the pulse. She knows what is going on and she’s got her eye on us. Before buying the smokehouse business, we were talking to Julie about valuing it, looking into the viability of it etc.”

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