Local butchers and meat processors becoming popular during pandemic

With grocery stores and even Costco now limiting the amount of meat customers can buy, many people are now turning to local butchers and meat processors.

Angela Haas and her husband live just up the road from Findley’s Butcher Shop in Cartersville. They have been regulars who like to buy local.

“It’s been really convenient to know we can come here any time and it’s been really nice with the grocery stores empty. People kind of forget about these places,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

>>LISTEN TO SANDRA PARRISH’S FULL ON-AIR REPORT BELOW.

David Widaski Jr, CEO of Widaski Meats which is Findley’s parent company, says business has been booming since Georgia’s public emergency was issued two months ago.

“Once Gov. Kemp actually went on at 4 o’clock, I believe, from 5 (o’clock) on, we basically doubled our day’s sales. And every day since then, each week has basically been a month’s worth of sales,” he says.

New customers are are turning into repeat customers.

“People that had never shopped with us before, we’ve now seen five, six, seven times since then,” he says.

David Waldrep, owner of Waldrep’s Meat Processing in Ellijay is seeing people from metro Atlanta come to buy his meats. And he’s expecting even more to come since Costco announced this week it’s limiting meat purchases.

“Once those friends tell their friends, it’s going to be even more until we can get these big grocery stores filled back up,” he says.

Georgia White recently discovered Waldrep’s where she buys bacon, sausage, ground beef and steaks. She now prefers local over grocery stores.

“You feel safer. You kind of know what you’re getting here. You never know what you’re getting in the store,” she says.

Neither Waldrep’s nor Findley’s has limits right now on how much customers can buy. But Widaski says the price his company pays for the product it sells could impact availability.

“The price per pound at our cost is going up so much that we’re having to pick and choose,” he says. “Am I going to charge the customer a certain price, which we believe is outlandish, that it would be a disservice to the customer?”

Waldrep, who is among Findley’s suppliers, doesn’t expect to run out of meat to process and urges customers not to panic buy.

“I want them to get as much as they want. As long as we’re healthy and have a healthy plant, we’re still going to butcher every week and they’re going to be taken care of,” he says.

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