Butcher Shop Update with Pictures

October 30, 2020
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Good morning tribe,

It's high time we send an update on the butcher shop. After all, settlement on the property was almost two months ago!

If you missed the original announcement in August, you'll want to read that post first to get the background story: We're buying a butcher shop!

Settlement date was Thursday, 9/3/2020.

And guess what... Thanks to the fact that we already had our team mostly in place by time of settlement, we never missed a beat of butcher shop production.

Thursday, 9/3 was the last day of operation for Lil' Ponderosa Enterprises and Friday, 9/4 was the first day of operation for Olde Tyme Meats.

We had the new sign up that same day yet... :) See above.

Since settlement, we've been making constant improvements to the property and equipment. That's the reason for this post.

We just finished a major renovation project which paves the way for future upgrades... and we want to share a few pictures.

But first, I want to step back and re-focus on the big picture.

Renovating this butcher shop and turning it into a viable business is a serious undertaking... and sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming. But that's when we need to remind ourselves: If we hadn't bought this shop, we'd very likely still be at the same place we were a few months ago.

That is, we had plenty of market-ready beef and pork, but no way to get it processed and available to you. Not good!

The nationwide shortage of USDA processing continues. As Dad explained in his earlier post in August, many small USDA-inspected shops are booking through 2021 and into 2022.

Our primary goal is to secure Family Cow food supply, of course. But a close second is to help as many other direct-to-consumer farms as possible.


First Renovation Project

Before I start the pictures, I want to give a huge heart-felt thanks to all of you pre-payment "investors."  Here it is:

❤ THANK-YOU! ❤

We are putting your pre-payment investment dollars to excellent use. We're increasing cooler capacity, upgrading equipment, and completely renovating the cut room and packing room. This all has a significant, long-term impact on quality control, production efficiency and team morale.

And to the rest of you, if you don't know what I mean by the "pre-payment investment" please read the original butcher shop announcement where Dad introduced the idea. Also keep in mind, we may re-open the pre-pay investment opportunity early next year. Stay tuned.

Now for the pictures...

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Here's the old packing room. Low ceiling, low light... not ideal.

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This shows a bit of the old cut room. It had nice 10-foot-high clearance and decent lighting, but the ceiling was a drop ceiling that appeared to be 30 or 40 years old and in need of help.

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This room was beside the cut room. It had been the old retail store for decades. When we came on the scene, it was being used for dry storage and a break room. (I took this picture the day we cleaned out this room and removed the old meat display cases—quite an undertaking!)

This room had an 8-foot-high drop ceiling... but get this: Above the drop ceiling of the "cut room" and the "old retail room" the actual roof trusses were the whole way up at 16 feet.

So for this renovation project, here's what we did:

  • Removed the drop ceiling in both rooms
  • Removed the center wall dividing the two rooms
  • Built a new water-tight solid ceiling the whole way up against the trusses at 16 foot
  • Constructed new walls all the way around (and rewired everything)
  • Installed brilliant LED high-bay flood lighting
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Demolition day: It was pretty wild... :) 

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Work in progress... Cheers to the construction team and the electrician for working till late at night to get the job done in time for cutting and packing meat the next day!

The end result is merging the cutting and packing into one big room. This eliminates a lot of unnecessary back and forth—transporting meat from the cutting room to the old packing room on the other side of the building.

AND, with the ceiling up at 16 feet, we can bring a half beef out of the cooler instead of a quarter beef. Without going into detail of how it all works, this ability now gains us an additional 50% of space in our cooler!

Here are some pictures of the end result. The new lighting is so nice and bright that we joked we should buy sunglasses for everyone and take a team picture with them on... :) 

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Ok, I believe this is enough for one email. Later we'll share more about the team and explain why we chose the name we did: Olde Tyme Meats.

Also, to be clear, this is only stage one of the renovations. We have three other main goals to be completed by year end if at all possible.

  1. Refurbish the smokehouse to make it operational.
  2. Open the on-site retail store.
  3. Renovate the kill floor walls and lighting.

Finally, as always, we are mindful every day that though our work as regenerative farmers growing God's food is important, we'd fall flat on our faces within a month if it weren't for you.

Each of you, making conscious choices to opt out of the industrial food system are without a doubt the greatest players in this food revolution. Keep it up!

Thank you... All of you... All the time!

All the best of Food and Blessings...

Your farmer,
Rodrick ~ for the Shank family

God Designed it... We Respect it... That Explains it!

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Rodrick Shank

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