The founder and owner of the Butcher & Grocer in Grandview Heights hopes a crowdfunding campaign – with such cutting-edge incentives as a pound of meat each week for a year – will provide seed money for the shop to carve out additional production space and open two retail outlets.
Tony Tanner said he is looking to open a 4,000-square-foot production facility at a site to be determined near North James Road and John Glenn Columbus International Airport in the first quarter of 2020, and later, new retail outlets near Dublin and Powell and in the Trolley Barn market in Columbus’ Olde Towne East.
The goal is to have the Dublin/Powell store open in the early months of 2020 and the Olde Towne East outlet open in late 2020 or early 2021, he said.
“They are good locations that would be a good fit for our business,” Tanner said. “We were approached about both locating in both Dublin and Olde Towne East. We’re really excited about extending our retail footprint.
“I live on the east side of Columbus and there’s nowhere on the east side that you can find a butcher shop like ours that works only with family farms.”
The butcher shop at 1089 W. First Ave. in Grandview will remain open, Tanner said.
“We’re not going to be leaving Grandview,” he said. “It’s just that we don’t have the space at that location to accommodate our production requirements.”
The Grandview shop has about 1,700 square feet, with only about 500 square feet set aside for production, Tanner said. Some production will continue at the Grandview location after the new facility is open.
Both the retail and wholesale aspects of the business have exceeded expectations since the Butcher & Grocer opened in July 2016, he said.
“It’s been crazy,” Tanner said. “At the end of the first year, we were doing more retail business than we had expected to be doing in year three, and the amount we spent (buying from Ohio farmers) in year three was more than we had even expected we would be collecting in revenue at that point.
“The growth has been beyond our wildest dreams.”
The additional production space will allow the Butcher & Grocer to expand its wholesale operations, open the additional retail stores, buy from more farmers and enable farmers to bring in their meats more times each week, he said.
“The production facility is the first step that will lead to the new stores opening,” Tanner said.
Tanner said he was inspired to open the shop after his close friend Rob Young died of cancer in 2014. Tanner previously had served as the deputy chief of staff in the Ohio State Auditor’s office and was working as executive director of the Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board when the shop opened.
“Rob was convinced that it was the food he was eating that was a cause, if not the cause, of his lung cancer,” Tanner said. “I did some research and I realized it was difficult to find good quality meat from verifiable sources” outside of that produced on family farms.
All of the beef, chicken, pork and lamb that the Butcher & Grocer buys is from Ohio family farms, he said.
That has been a key reason for the shop’s success, Tanner said.
“People want to know where their food is coming from,” he said. “You read story after story about food being recalled for health and safety concerns. We don’t have recalls in our business. Our farmers are committed to what we are doing, and we are committed to what they are doing.”
The Butcher & Grocer has launched its crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com.
The goal is to raise $200,000 as seed money for the entire project to open the new production facility, which is expected to cost between $800,000 and $1 million, Tanner said.
The crowdfunding campaign began Sept. 17 and runs through Nov. 2, he said.
Incentives for those who contribute range from a “big thank you” for a $10 donation to “meat for life” for anyone who might contribute $100,000.
“My favorite is the meat for life,” he said. “You’ll get $150 monthly credit for life, which is actually worth $180 wholesale – and if you die, you can put this perk in your will and your recipient will also get meat for the rest of their life. It would be a gift that would keep on giving.”
The perk for a $500 contribution is a pound of meat – choice of beef, pork, chicken or lamb – each week for a year, Tanner said.
To view the campaign, search “Butcher & Grocer” at indiegogo.com.
As of Sept. 20, $2,456 had been raised.