Corey Meyer, owner of Acme Meat Market, grew up seeing his father working at his own shop, Meyer’s Meats. His father knew the Eldridge family, who had owned Acme since 1921, and Meyer ended up working there. “I was like part of their family, I went to their family functions,” says Meyer. “When it came time for me and my wife to step up and buy the business, they were just happy they knew me.”
Kyle Iseke had a similar journey – his father, D’Arcy Iseke, is the man behind D’Arcy’s Meat Market’s name. “I remember walking around town with my dad, everyone saying ‘D’Arcy, how’re you doing, love the meat shop,'” says Iseke. However, he never thought it would become his career path – in fact, he only got involved in butchery after he had a realization, sitting in a mining engineering class, that he was making the wrong career choice. Iseke went to the retail meat-cutting program at NAIT, and, when his father expressed his desire to change careers, Kyle decided to take over the shop.
It took a while to find out exactly what customers are looking for. In Meyer’s case, he realized he had to get a bit more savvy in the kitchen. “When I first started, I had no idea how to cook, my mom and dad were the cooks, I just ate,” Meyer says. “I noticed that my boss at the time, the former owner, offered cooking tips and so forth, and so I picked up on it… it was a learning process for me. Now, I help people with that information.”
In addition to helping you figure out how to cook a particular cut of meat, a butcher can also assist you in navigating the multitude of options available. “The number-one reason [to go to a butcher] would be to get information about anything related to that meat – where does it come from, how is it raised, how is it cut, can you get me something special, what are the different breeds of beef, et cetera,” says Iseke. “A good butcher should easily be able to handle any of those questions.”
And, with so many restaurants offering a variety of unique cuts and items on their menus, customers are more adventurous than ever. “People will go and have an adventurous cut here at Biera and they’ll come in to us and say, ‘I had this great dish, I want to try it at home.’ It’s kind of nice because if you go to a big-box store you often can’t find stuff like that,” says Meyer.