In an era when a neighborhood butcher shop seems like a bygone notion, J. Mosley is happily defiant.
Not content with being one of the few artisan butchers left in central Ohio, Mosley is expanding his business.
The owner of Mosley's Meat Market in Hilliard has broken ground on a new 2,400-square-foot facility that will more than double his current capacity at 2602 Hilliard-Rome Road.
The new storefront, a stone's throw from where he started four years ago, is expected to open this summer. It will feature a number of new products in addition to fresh cuts of pork, beef, lamb and other meats. On occasion, he sells goat, rabbit, bison, duck, turkey and Cornish hen.
"We try to do a little bit of everything," he said.
Mosley keeps it natural: All meats come from local farmers and all animals are humanely raised without the use of hormones. He said he uses no preservatives in his meats prepared on-site, including bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham hocks and fresh-ground burger patties.
"Everything I sell out the door is natural," he said, including farm-fresh chicken and duck eggs from Cook's County Garden in Hilliard. "That was just important to us because that's the way we eat."
He learned the trade early on from his grandfather, who was a hunter and gardener. Mosley said he and his family grew up in Washington Court House, where everything gathered was used.
He soon learned his skill was in demand, having worked for Capriano's, Whole Foods, IGA stores and House of Meats at the Andersons. Even so, he was not using his butchering techniques to his full advantage.
"There are only so many of us left," he said. "There are a lot of meat-cutters who cut boxed meats."
Four years ago, he opened his humble store just north of Roberts Road. It's a family-run shop, with wife, Dawn, and his brother Myles, and his wife, Paula, helping out.
The shop, perhaps, seems better suited to established, high-density neighborhoods with lots of foot traffic and other mom-and-pop types of retailers. Mosley said he's comfortable in Hilliard, where he's raising his family.
"We figured we could have fit in more somewhere on High Street," he said. "We wanted to be here for families, to provide a good alternative to (grocery) stores."
Mosley, 32, breaks down the animals whole at his shop and sells about 15,000 pounds of meat and poultry a week.
He tries to use everything, from the tail to the snout. Whatever he doesn't use, he sells. The organ meat is finding a new audience: Dog owners are feeding it to their pets. The hides are sold to an Amish tanner.
But Mosley's goes beyond the steaks and chops by providing, among other items, different sausage and meats smoked in-house. Cold deli sandwiches are made from Boar's Head meats, not made in-house.
The new shop at 2410 Hilliard-Rome Road will open up all sorts of food possibilities, he said.
For starters, it's a solid "green" building, made from recycled steel, that's nearly 100 percent energy-efficient.
"We always try to do our part, do whatever we can to keep green," he said. "It's just kind of a personal thing for us. We put our personal beliefs and feelings into this."
When he told his customers he would offer butchering classes, 100 people signed up immediately.
"We had to stop taking names," said Mosley, who recently graduated from Columbus State Community College's nursing program.
Mosley said he will install an industrial-grade smoker that will allow him to fill an entire cold case with smoked brisket, sausage, bacon, pork shoulder and other savory bites.
Still, the new place will have that old-school vibe.
"That's how we're trying to keep it," he said.
Mosley's is open morning to early-evening hours six days a week, closed Sunday. For more information, call 614-777-6328.