Matthew Alexander Quail was the founder of Quails in 1898. Dealing in property and livestock, he often left his wife Dorothea (Dora) to look after the shop which was then in Rathfriland Street, Banbridge. In 1900 he moved to the current premises in 15 Newry Street and there the family lived on the first floor.
Alex and Dora Quail with Elizabeth (Lilly), their elder daughter, outside the shop in 1900.
Joe Quail (Senior) was born in 1906 and, at an early age, he left school to help his father. The family then moved to a farm at Tullyear in 1923 which is still the Quail family home today.
When buying calves in Belfast, Joe (senior) was given the job of collecting them. On his way to Belfast, he often brought select cuts of meat with him for a butcher in Shaftesbury Square. These ended up with the well-to-do families on the Malone Road. While he was there, Joe (senior) learned a great deal by watching the butchers at work. With the untimely death of Matthew Quail in 1930 Joe (Senior) took over the reins of the business at the age of 24 and ran it successfully for nearly 40 years.
When he retired in 1970, his son James became the 3rd generation of the Quail family to manage the shop. With his strong interest in farming, he linked the farm and the shop producing high quality Limousin meat for which Quails is well known.
In 1998, in Quails 100th year of trading, a bomb demolished the premises. However, with much planning, an exciting new building was finished in May 2000. It now houses a butchery, deli and cafe.