GREENVILLE — The secret to making a small business successful, according to Meat Shack owners Suzy and Jeff Raven, is to provide great service along with a great product. A pretty simple formula, but one many businesses in this “big box” era seem to have forgotten.
The meat market and specialty grocery, which just celebrated its second year of business, is a bit of a throwback to an earlier, better time, when quality was king and providing the customer with exactly the right product still mattered.
According to Suzy Raven, keeping the store focused on meat products — as well as a few, carefully chosen, related food items — allows the Meat Shack to tailor its inventory to the needs of the customer. Proof of this is evident in the main meat case, where dozens of custom-made brats are laid out fresh each morning.
Whereas many larger stores provide a handful of flavors, Meat Shack brats — made fresh on-site — come in more than 50 tantalizing varieties. The same can be said of the shop’s burgers, sausages and other ground meat offerings. The Bacon Burger — a 50/50 blend of bacon and hamburger — has proven especially popular, Raven said. The store even carries custom-made hot dogs, perfect for upcoming summer barbecues.
The Meat Shack also offers smoked meats and custom processing, along with jerky, pulled pork, bologna and more.
Those looking to save a few bucks will be interested in the store’s “bundle” deals, in which large, bulk orders or different types of meat are sold as a single, freezer-ready package.
As far as prices, the Meat Shack is comparable to larger supermarkets and in many cases offers surprisingly good deals. Last week, for instance, one specialty cheese selling for about $6 at a store down the street was going for just over $1 at the Meat Shack.
Raven says the Meat Shack can offer these bargains by shopping around for overstock-type deals from its suppliers.
Many Meat Shack customers are on a first-name basis with the store’s smiling, friendly employees.
“We’re like a family here,” Raven said. “We have customers that bring in pictures of their new grandchildren to pass around. It’s very laid back.”
The Meat Shack is at 1217 W. Washington St. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.